One letting agency is calling for a mass protest in Old Market Square in order to stop ‘housing crisis’
Landlords have said rents could rise after the city council upped the proposed cost of its controversial licensing scheme by 25 percent – before it has even been introduced.
Private landlords are up in arms that the cost of the scheme is now being priced above the figure they were consulted on.
Nottingham City Council has been given approval by the Secretary of State to introduce Selective Licensing, which would see landlords being required to pay for a licence to demonstrate that each of the properties they rent out meets set standards relating to safety and quality.
It was proposed in July 2017 that landlords who join an independent accreditation organisation will pay £400 per property while non-accredited landlords will pay £655 over a five-year period.
However, since the scheme was given approval earlier this year, the council has posted on its website that this will now rise to a proposed £520 for accredited and £780 for non-accredited.
And it could even rise again – by up to 20 percent – when the final fee costs are decided in April.
Private landlord for 20 years, Mick Roberts, 40, from Hucknall, said he will be forced to pay around £100,000 for the licence and the work needed to meet the council’s criteria.
He told the Post: “If that goes up the tenant’s rent will have to go up. We can’t swallow it.
“The council have gone over the top. And what is stopping them putting the price up again? It is ridiculous. I am thinking that I can’t work in this city anymore.”
Nottingham City Council said that final fee costs won’t be confirmed until the executive board meeting in April.
The council said the costs have never been confirmed but only proposed at this stage.
Landlords should meet in Old Market Square for a mass protest against the city council’s controversial licensing scheme, said a top letting agent.
Charging landlords more money to licence their rented properties will see tenants picking up the bill and could create a mass exodus where landlords choose other places to work, business experts claim.
Janet Jones, managing director of Janet Jones Property Services Ltd in Mansfield Road, which represents around 200 private landlords across Nottinghamshire, told the Post: “I would like all the city landlords to go into Old Market Square and say to the council ‘we are not doing this.’
“And if they say ‘you are’ then to turn around and say ‘we will sell our rented properties.’
“What contingency plans do they have in place for this potential housing crisis they are about to create? It is all about making money, not improving private letting.”
Nottingham City Council consulted with landlords before putting forward a proposal to the Secretary of State calling for approval of its Selected Licensing scheme.
The scheme does not cover the whole city, but areas containing a high proportion of private rented properties.
Documents that support the licence application include plans of each floor of the property, a criminal record check, as well as gas and fire safety checks.
It is not yet clear how the scheme will be policed, either to check landlords have a licence, or once the licences have been handed out.
The council said it is an offence if a person having control of a house does not apply for a licence. If found guilty of this offence, the fine may be up to a maximum of £20,000.
The council can now issue financial penalties of up to £30,000 for offences under the Housing Act.
Giles Inham, business development manager for East Midlands Property Owners Ltd based in Lenton, which represents around 600 landlords, told the Post: “We have a lot of concerned investors in this city and we want to manage this so that housing investment does not walk out of this city and go to Derby or Leicester – that’s the big problem we have with this scheme.
“Rents will go up, despite the council saying businesses should absorb these costs.
“We are baffled. Our members are angry about this.
“Last year the council were sticking with the £400 and £655 fee structure and clearly a lot of landlords have got accredited recently on the benefit that they would pay £400. Our phone lines have been busy asking – what the hell is going on?
“The landlords I am speaking too are very worried because they are not sure how they are going to deal with this.
“But we do support the rationale around selective licensing and we salute the council for trying to introduce a policy that will try and eradicate rogue landlord activity from the city. “
Councillor Jane Urquhart, portfolio holder for planning, housing and heritage at Nottingham City Council, said: “The cost of the licence is only proposed and under review until approved by the executive board in April, when the scheme details will be available.
“As we have said previously, this is still likely to be less than £2 per week per property for accredited landlords and no more than £3 a week for non-accredited landlords, subject to approval.
“The initial proposed costs submitted to the Secretary of State were only indicative, and were always subject to change depending on the scope and details of the final scheme approved for implementation.
“The council is not permitted to make a profit from the introduction of a Selective Licensing scheme. Licence fee income goes towards the set-up, running and enforcement of the scheme and this is how the licence fee is determined.”