Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,00015:08 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago 36
My Landlord mate just sent me this who he sending to council and secretary of state. I reckon some good points in there, as he mentions several of the attacks on us in one email.
“Dear Ms Urquhart
A copy of this email has also been sent to the Secretary of State Sajid Javid whom I believe needs to be aware of the adverse effect Selective Licensing is going to have on families who are having to live on a reduced and limited income in Nottingham.
I am writing to you to express my concerns with regards to the blatant and harmful propaganda that is being put forward by the Council with regards to selective licensing. The Council’s claim that Nottingham landlords are going to pay a £600.00 licensing fee along with other associated costs without having to increase the rents that they charge, frankly is deceitful. If it is truly the Council’s intention to improve the housing standards in Nottingham they should start by using the extensive enforcement powers that they already have at their disposal, as it is very much arguable whether those powers are currently being used to their full potential effect.
I am just one Nottingham City landlord but I believe that I am very typical. I have fifty 2 & 3 bedroom houses all of which, if your plans are approved, will attract a £600.00 licensing fee. The rents that I charge to my tenants have not increased since the credit crunch of 2008, nine years ago. I currently charge a maximum rent of £500.00 and £550.00 PCM, some are less, depending on the number of bedrooms and the value of the property. Thankfully during the last nine years inflation has been very low. However during the same period many landlords, myself included have had to deal with an erosion of tax allowable expenditure and benefit reforms, whereby the viability of housing many welfare dependent tenants has become more trouble than it is worth. Such is the current situation that since the introduction of Universal Credit I have reduced the number of HIMO properties that I operate from nine to six. The Benefit cap has also been introduced and of the 7 of my tenants who have had their benefits cut, only 1 has found work, 2 have been evicted, 1 is currently the subject of eviction proceedings and 3 are struggling to pay the shortfall in their rents.
The Council seem to be in denial of the fact that there is a massive housing shortage and in the current climate of demand outstripping supply most landlords are simply going to increase their rents and evict those who refuse to pay. It is dishonest of you to imply, as you have, that rents will not be increased as a result of the programme that you are pursuing. There is a limit to the amount of extra costs that any business can carry without increasing it’s charges. In the area that I operate I am meeting people on a daily basis who are living on the breadline. I did not invest in property with the intention of making families with children homeless or to demand money from those who are considerably less well off than myself, however that is the position that I find myself in.
If the £600.00 licensing fee is implemented I will immediately be increasing my rents not by the £2.30 or so a week as the Council have suggested will be the cost of selective licensing but by an amount that reflects the £30,000 needed to be raised that the Council will be demanding from me. I have no doubt that the £50.00 per month rent increase that I have in mind will cause hardship and an increase in evictions, which in turn will cause problems for the Council who will have to bear the cost of those in need of accommodation until they are rehoused. I am sure that the Secretary of State is aware of the national outcry from landlords against George Osborne’s tax attacks on the PRS. The effect of the new tax situation along with benefit reforms cannot be understated and is bringing nationally as well as locally many property investors to their knees. The last thing needed in the current climate by both landlords and tenants alike is an extra property tax in the form of selective licensing. If I am typical of the majority of Nottingham landlords as I believe that I am the Secretary of State needs to consider NCC’s application with the utmost caution, as it may bring NCC far more problems than they realise.
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