Additional Licensing proposal in Bristol

by Rob Crawford

2 months ago

Additional Licensing proposal in Bristol

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Additional Licensing proposal in Bristol

This is a must read for all landlords with HMO’s in Bristol.

The council proposes to introduce an Additional Licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation across Bristol City.  Specifically 12 wards that make up central Bristol – Ashley, Bishopston & Ashley Down, Central, Clifton, Clifton Down, Cotham, Easton, Hotwells & Harbourside, Lawrence Hill, Redland, Southville and Windmill Hill – with the aim to improve poor management and poor housing conditions.

The Proposed Additional will capture most HMO’s that are not defined as HMO’s under the expected Mandatory Licensing regulations expected in April.

It would apply to all private rented houses or flats in this area that are let to three or more people who aren’t related and who share some facilities, like kitchens or bathrooms.

Landlords would need to apply for a licence and meet licensing conditions.

The basic proposed licence fee under this scheme without any discounts, would be £1,660, valid for up to five years. With discounts (early application/proof of in date & satisfactory Gas, Electrical & EPC Certificates and membership of an approved West of England Rent with Confidence scheme) the licence fee would be reduced to £885. For renewals this would be £785.

Further information about this proposal can be accessed by clicking here.

“Rob Crawford, Chairman for the Association of Local Landlords (Wessex) encourages all landlords that may be affected to read the proposal in detail before responding to the consultation survey.  The consultation closes on 13th May 2018.

The proposal was not unexpected after Councilor Paul Smith’s (BCC’s Cabinet Minister for Housing) outburst at a recent landlord meeting, where he revealed plans to introduce City Wide licensing were due to “Labour Policy!

Together with recent changes in tax legislation, higher tax threshold landlords with large portfolios now face bankruptcy.  Irrespective as to whether the landlord is compliant or rogue. Additional licensing does not discriminate sufficiently between the two!

The Council has not demonstrated how a basic Additional Licensing fee of £1,660 can possibly be justified.  If the Council maintains that this level of fee reflects its costs of administering the scheme, then it must be so inefficient that it must be challenged.  While the Council may have the legal power to introduce new measures, it is also under a duty to do so in the most cost-effective manner possible.  ALL Wessex is aware of at least one significantly lower cost alternative scheme.

Furthermore, the Council needs to be reminded that there is a legal obligation on Councils to only spend the funds raised from Additional Licensing on the scheme.  It is simply illegal to spend this money on other Council services.

The Council is proposing that a discount of £775 can apply, resulting in a net fee of £885.  However, the Council has not justified why its costs would be so much more if landlords cannot comply immediately with these requirements.  Even at a proposed discounted fee level of £885, ALL Wessex has some difficulty in understanding how the Council’s costs can be so high.

Whilst we wish to support the eradication of rogue landlords and where necessary support landlords in meeting an acceptable rental standard, we do not believe Additional Licensing as proposed is in the interest of landlords or their tenants.

We will be providing landlords with guidance on how to best respond to the consultation in due course.   All landlords must play an active part in objecting to this proposal”

Rob Crawford, Chairman for the Association of Local Landlords (Wessex)

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Comments

Ronny Popat

2 months ago

Thanks for the update Rob, this will certainly impact many local landlords and I agree it will be important to make appropriate reps in due course.

Larry Sweeney

2 months ago

Rob, Well done alerting your landlords. You may not like what I am going to say but it is the reality. Apart from a couple of Councils the latest being Telford who abandoned the proposal, The overwhelming majority of the horrible greedy bankrupt organisations hide behind the consultation. Let me expand. The consultation is mandatory as per the HA 2004. They must have a "consultation" They engage the services of a consultant organisation who get paid by the council to dress it up as a legitimate exercise. In a word, the odds are overwhelmingly that you will have this garbage imposed on you. Look at Liverpool. I attended St Georges hall and spoke to 200 Landlords. I had reims of evidence that That Liverpool was not a city of low demand. Despite this the Council introduced city wide Licensing on the basis that the entire city of Liverpool was an area of low demand. This is the most Blatant fraud perpetrated by an Council. Bringing in licensing on the back of such a stupid gigantic lie. Yet they got away with this fraud. This Government are useless and are happy to shaft the PRS because everyone is aware that Corbyn is completely economically ignorant. The only possible hope to stop this sham is to use guerrilla tactics. Engaging with them and playing by their rules means in effect giving them "carte Blanche". It is a waste of time and energy engaging with their consultation process because it simply gives legitimacy to the entire show.

Rob Crawford

2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 20/02/2018 - 10:12Hi Larry, thanks for sharing your experience with regard to licensing in Liverpool. I have been following your plight and feel your frustrations. The point is that if we do nothing we just won't know what could have been! Cracks are beginning to emerge. Weston-super-Mare, Telford and Wrekin are the latest. Of course these councils don't compare to the hardcore Labour led Bristol council, but to sit back and accept the proposal as written would be very wrong. At the very least it presents a good learning opportunity for next time. We may not be able to prevent licensing, but to proceed on the basis of the consultation proposal alone without challenging, at the very least, elements of it such as the scandalous £1660 licensing fee or how the council plan to resource would not be in the best interest of our member landlords. What I am hoping for is overwhelming support from our landlords, today is just the first day and we have already attracted half the council and Acorn management teams to our social media pages. Landlord awareness is growing and with the support of other landlord associations I have a positive feel that we can make some sort of difference.

Larry Sweeney

2 months ago

Hi Rob
What Company is doing the consultation. Anything from the NLA or RLA. Remember the RLA jumped in to bed with LCC to help them implement their scheme. I salute you in your efforts to get the troops mobilised. It would be good if you could get your hands on the consultation forms sent to tenants. Ie Have tenants as well as landlords rejecting the scheme. As regards the proposed fees, The rotten Council will climb down. This is their opening gambit then they will go through the charade of saying they listened and drop their fees while ramming their scheme through. If you could manage a massive tenant backlash while running a campaign stating landlords refuse to engage with the sham it might work. If they force it through, let me know and we might cause them serious grief on conditions. Good Luck

Jim Fox

2 months ago

The saying 'a sledgehammer to crack a nut' springs to mind!

Luke P

2 months ago

What on earth are they going to do when all of the LLs exit the market?

Daniel Holder

2 months ago

This type of regulation is only going to increase and spread to shared houses in smaller towns, holiday lets and eventually all the private rented sector. I have been reducing my portfolio before the amateur masses wake up and realise whats coming. Cash strapped councils are going to see BTL as easy pickings, it will be the next cash cow after parking fines.


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