Consultation feedback halts Selective Licensing!

Consultation feedback halts Selective Licensing!

9:44 AM, 13th February 2018, About 6 years ago 11

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Telford and Wrekin council wanted to impose a Selective Licensing scheme for Landlords, but had 900 responses to its consultation resulting in the scheme being dropped.

This is the most feedback the council has ever received to a consultation with a significant backlash to the plans. Landlords are no longer faced with purchasing a five year licence for now.

Instead Telford and Wrekin are investing in a five point crack down across the entire borough to tackle rental property related issues using a ‘rogue landlord task force’, stricter HMO licence regulations and more enforcement officers.

A spokesperson for the council said: “We have to invest in this, working with others and partnership to make it work. If it doesn’t, we might have to revisit selective licensing. We’re satisfied and confident there’s as many people as possible on board and that we’re going to make it work.”

Wrekin Landlord Association Facebook page comments from local landlords:

I would like say a big Thank you to all the members of Wrekin Landlords Association who attended the numerous drop ins and other council and parish meetings to point out to the councillors that they already had the necessary power to tackle rogue landlords without the introduction of selective licencing. Particularly when additional licencing would have been the correct way to tackle the problems associated with HMOs.”

Absolutely fantastic news to all involved with opposing the councils licensing scheme ! Some very hard work and input from all. It will be brilliant to tackle the rogues and praise the decent landlords out there!”

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Rob Crawford

14:55 PM, 13th February 2018, About 6 years ago

This is encouraging news! Evidence that Council's are starting to with landlords rather than against them. A scheme that respects compliant landlords will make it more easy to identify lower standard properties identifies without penalising good landlords. Over the next couple of weeks we are expecting both Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) and Bristol Councils to announce their plans to adopt city wide additional licensing. There are now a number of viable options open to the council's as such there is not reason to adopt an additional licensing approach. We are in the process of working with the national and other more local orientated landlord associations to make them aware of the alternatives such as schemes provided by "Consider-Rate Ltd" and the National Landlord's Code of Excellence (NLCE). Where these schemes are deemed for some reason to be unacceptable, we are suggesting that landlords who meet the required inspection criteria with no Cat 1 Hazards are rewarded with a significant refund of the licensing fee. We have suggested 50%. Even so, we believe the anticipated licensing fee of £700 plus to be unjustified. Our challenge, is to break through landlord apathy by motivating and encourage them to fight back and participate positively to the forthcoming consultations.

Grumpy Doug

18:54 PM, 13th February 2018, About 6 years ago

We had similar success here in Bournemouth last year. Huge number of landlord responses - I think the Council realised the scale of the hornets nest that they were dealing with and backed off. I think the scale of the assault on the PRS is starting to galvanise landlords ... I wonder how many previous licensing schemes happened simply through landlord apathy. The report that includes loads of the arguments against selective licensing is here - I hope there's stuff in there that can help anyone else fighting the fight.

Jim Parsler

9:29 AM, 14th February 2018, About 6 years ago

We had a similar issue in Milton Keynes though the council finally dropped the SL proposal. There are a lot of council members with very fixed ideas that PRS landlords do nothing to prevent anti social behaviour. Though we tried hard to explain that the only recourse the PRS has is to evict which can take months to occur, whereas the council themselves can enact various actions under environmental health, noise abatement and other legislation and can request the police to attend. Though the council are working more closely with landlords than before we still have the old chestnut of them telling LHA tenants to sit tight until the bailiffs arrive. Whilst I understand that this means they do not have to find accommodation in the short term the long term result is that the tenant gets saddled with a lot of unnecessary debt due to legal fees and the landlord will look to avoid taking a council tenant in future. So even when relations are not directly antagonistic they are still not always smooth

Luke P

10:43 AM, 14th February 2018, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jim Parsler at 14/02/2018 - 09:29
We had a the police (a couple of PCSOs) come to our office last week to hand us a letter to "...raise our awareness of legislation and powers available to the police & local authority..." (specifically the ASB, Crime & Policing Act 2014). It went on to explain that Chapter 3 of Part 4, Sections 76-93 creates a power to close premises associated with nuisance or disorder.

It was coupled with their spiel to remind us of this, what can only be described as a massive stick, that says if you, the landlord, do not 'sort problem properties/tenants out' then they WILL shut them down.

Great! They're here to help with our most challenging tenants...or so I thought. They then went on to tell me that a Magistrate-granted Closure Order would means no access is permitted by *anyone* for THREE MONTHS, "...and obviously means a loss in revenue for your company."

They weren't interested in my response about Court waiting times and how the police don't turn up when they're called. The quiet one then piped up and said that a bit like how a doctor doesn't come out to your house anymore if you're ill -you have to go to them, the police want to be more like that. They don't turn out, you utilise them 'self-service'. And just as A&E are encouraging alternatives to their service, the police are doing that too. He couldn't be anymore "Stop knocking at our door!" if he tried!!

In short, ensure problems 'go away' or we will make it happen and damage your business in the process.

SL is coming to our area (though officially they won't acknowledge it) and I believe this is a precursor...setting up evidence to support the need for it.

20:19 PM, 14th February 2018, About 6 years ago

There are viable alternatives to licensing. We are one of them, everyone gets something out of it and at a fraction of the cost of licensing. Councils must listen AND act accordingly, including those that will be coming up for renewal over the next few years. Licensing SHOULD be the LAST resort. This is a great start for Landlords in the Telford and Wrekin areas and gives hope for other areas. We need all landlords in all areas of the UK to stand up to their councils in the same way. Councils are not aware or are ignoring that there are alternatives. If your area is up for consultation then you must put companies like ours and any others forward as that alternative and ensure it is minuted. Happy to attend/present at any landlord/council meeting. If you notify me of any pending consultation in your area I will ensure Consider-Rate gets put forward as an alternative.

20:31 PM, 14th February 2018, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 14/02/2018 - 10:43
Hi Luke, if you have any contact details or could notify me if and when they announce a consultation period then I will bang the drum for and as an alternative. If you are part of a local landlord association then I would be happy to present if you would have me there.

Sam Jackson

20:25 PM, 15th February 2018, About 6 years ago

I met with the Landlords of Telford and Wrekin whilst the consultation was active, and then with the council. It was very clear the council recognised they need private landlords now more than ever, they could see they were at risk of losing their private rented stock. The council are also more forward thinking than many others, recognising that they have been given additional income stream through civil penalties; In addition to this, when the new HMO classification finally comes in, they will be very busy dealing with those new licences. It is very clear Selective LIcencing is generally introduced in areas where landlord apathy means there is no real opposition to the scheme. Many landlords feel alone and feel they can't conquer the council alone, so they just accept whatever is thrown at them. My biggest message to Telford and Wrekin Landlords when I stood in front of over 100 of them was, you MUST all stand together, not just go to one meeting and then do nothing. Selective Licencing is only one of many ridiculously ineffective schemes the Government has 'developed' let's not even get started on Section 24. There are indeed many more effective ways for the council to use their existing powers to deal with 'rogue landlords'. At the National Landlords Code of Excellence, we have been working with our local council to train and educate landlords and it is working. North Somerset's relationship with local landlords has improved, housing stock from the PRS has increased and landords are loving the training and networking. I met with Telford and Wrekin Council again only 2 weeks ago, lets see what happens there!

Helen Mir

16:51 PM, 18th February 2018, About 6 years ago

I own and rent out a flat in the London Borough of Harrow which is managed by a local estate agent. The flat is ex-local authority and the building is managed by the local council. At least they are who i pay the service charges to, although they don't really seem to do much for the amount of money i have to pay. I just found out via the estate agent that selective licensing is being introduced in the area and will come into effect on 14th March. However the council did not approach me in the consultation, even though they are fully aware that my flat is rented out. I have been in communication with them regularly, eg when a new tenant was leaving their rubbish in the hallway temporarily until they could take it down to the bin room when they went downstairs, and we spoke to the tenant and advised them not to do so. The agent even sent the council copies of the tenancy agreements on the flat, and I even pay an additional £70 annually to the council because my flat is rented out - they call this an admin charge to cover their costs as they have to send all notices to the property as well as to my home address. I recently refurbished the property, and the council attended to review it was upto standard and i was compliant with all the landlord requirements. After Grenfell they even asked for us all to provide our gas safety and electrical safety certificates which I duly complied with.
I'm therefore very unhappy that they chose not to widely communicate the consultation, which is now closed. Not many landlords were consulted, and the scheme has been passed and will come into effect on the 14th March. They want £550 for upto 5 years but have stated they are going to only run it for 3 years. Surely they should pro-rata the cost then?
What's even more annoying is the reasons they state for wanting to introduce selective licensing are all things that we have to comply with anyway, and the fact the council already monitors our properties to make sure we are compliant, this whole thing screams of them just trying to get more money out of us. If one of the main reasons is to prove the landlord is "fit and proper", then many accreditation schemes cover the same criteria for a lot less money. Also if a landlord has multiple properties and have been proved to be "fit and proper" then why do they need to buy a license for every property they rent out? Its doesn't seem like their reasons for introducing it are very credible. A landlord / estate agent should be licensed once and that should apply to all properties they own/manage?
Given that the council have not once written to me about the scheme, what options do I have? Can i raise a complaint about not being included in the consultation. Given the consultation seems to have been done in a very hush hush way, is there anything we can do?
Grateful for any advice you can provide.

Monty Bodkin

20:49 PM, 18th February 2018, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Helen Mir at 18/02/2018 - 16:51If you are a good landlord with only one property in that area, sell up and get out.
Plenty of scum rogue landlords to take your place who won't bother with the niceties of licensing.
(following my own advice in another anti good landlord area)

Helen Mir

20:02 PM, 28th February 2018, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Monty Bodkin at 18/02/2018 - 20:49
Thanks but i would have a big CGT bill if I sell up. I have 2 properties which i intended to use as my income when i retire. But at this rate it will all be eroded soon enough without me seeing much of it.

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