Landlords object to city’s new licensing schemes

Landlords object to city’s new licensing schemes

9:18 AM, 13th February 2024, About A week ago 13

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Bristol City Council’s new licensing schemes for rented homes have sparked a backlash from landlords who claim they are unfair and costly, Bristol Live reports.

The council says the schemes, which were approved last week, aim to improve living standards for renters by ensuring that homes meet certain criteria and are well-managed.

The schemes will apply to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) across the city, as well as other privately rented homes in four wards with a high proportion of rented homes.

The fees range from £912 to £1,800, depending on the type of property and the availability of discounts, with the money being used for the council’s inspection and enforcement activities.

Lower housing supply and reduced affordability for tenants

However, many landlords have objected to the schemes, saying they will impose extra costs on them, which could lead to higher rents, lower housing supply and reduced affordability for tenants.

They also argue that the schemes are unnecessary and ineffective, as they will penalise compliant landlords while failing to catch rogue ones.

Some of the comments made by landlords during a public consultation on the schemes were revealed to councillors.

Landlord responses included ‘a waste of time’, ‘completely anti-landlord’ and ‘bureaucratic overkill.

The fee proposed by the council was disproportionate

The council report also included a submission from Safeagent which said the fee proposed by the council was disproportionate to the cost of implementing the scheme.

It said: “Bristol City Council’s figures suggest there are some 6,005 privately rented properties in the wards of Bishopston, Ashley Down, Cotham and Easton.

“The projected cost of implementation of the selective licensing scheme is quoted as £3.5 million.

“The fee being proposed, £912, would generate a revenue of £5.48 million.”

Safeagent adds: “Given that the local authority is not permitted to make a profit from any licensing scheme, the fee seems disproportionate to the cost, even allowing for the discounts that are available.

“There is a danger here that BCC will be perceived to be penalising good, conscientious and compliant landlords by imposing high licence fees on them, in order to subsidise the local authority in funding its obligations to enforce standards.”

‘Few local authorities have attended any of our properties to complete inspections’

Councillors also heard a submission from the large corporate landlord Grainger which said: “Grainger is subject to numerous licensing schemes across different boroughs, however, very few local authorities have attended any of our properties to complete inspections and check documents.

“In most situations there have been no formal checks and little work undertaken to ensure properties are of a suitable standard.

“With licensing schemes now costing Grainger in excess of £1 million, the additional cost of licensing is not insignificant and, with additional pressures on construction costs and finance rates, has the ability to have a major impact on project viability and housing delivery.”

The firm adds: “This will likely lead to an increase in viability challenges to Section 106 and affordable housing contributions, as well as forcing many landlords to increase the rents charged to their customers.”

‘Commitment to expand landlord licensing schemes’

Bristol Live reports that during the cabinet meeting, Labour Councillor Kye Dudd, cabinet member for housing services and energy, said: “We’re delivering on our manifesto commitment to expand landlord licensing schemes in the city.

“You might hear the landlord lobby complaining that this is just a tax and we’re trying to raise revenue, or whatever.

“But actually, it has driven up revenue. We’ve got people going out inspecting properties, and it’s worked.”

Apparently, Coun Dudd was corrected by deputy mayor Craig Cheney, who asked if he meant to say, ‘driven up standards’, instead of revenue. Coun Dudd said he had.


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Comments

moneymanager

9:54 AM, 13th February 2024, About A week ago

They should be asked for the metrics of improvement.

Cider Drinker

10:08 AM, 13th February 2024, About A week ago

They should just license the tenants. Take the money from the people that will pay it one way or another anyway.

Martin Thomas

11:03 AM, 13th February 2024, About A week ago

Coun Dudd was right the first time - a Freudian slip! What a good a name for a Labour councillor dealing with housing issues in a city where the number of available lets is falling, more regulation and the second highest rents in the country! As Mick Roberts in Nottingham says, the more costs councils put onto landlords, the more the rents will go up. They just don't learn!

Seething Landlord

11:38 AM, 13th February 2024, About A week ago

Welcome to the People's Republic of Bristol. Do you not understand that this is a Great Leap Forward? The interests of tenants and landlords must be sacrificed on the altar of ideology, Big Brother knows best.

NewYorkie

12:18 PM, 13th February 2024, About A week ago

Bristol will never lose the chip on its shoulder!

Seething Landlord

12:22 PM, 13th February 2024, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by NewYorkie at 13/02/2024 - 12:18
That's right my luvver.

Rob Crawford

15:29 PM, 13th February 2024, About A week ago

BCC have said to me on many occasion that they "value" the PRS! Considering the money accrued through their city-wide licensing schemes, you can see why. They are not allowed to profit from these schemes so one can only assume a very inefficient or over payed work force. I do feel it is now time to challenge these fees and we need to do this outside of a biased consultation process and demand an independent audit of their accounts. Landlords in Bristol dominate old housing stock. Properties that are now costly to maintain or difficult or expensive to bring up to a standard compliant with EPC, forecast carbon emission targets or even to address mould issues, are no longer attractive to investing landlords. This with the rise of numerous threatening activist groups that seem to have significant influence over this Labour led Council, has made investing n the PRS in Bristol a very unattractive proposition. The latest BCC strategy for the PRS includes the implementation of rent controls. Blind to the negative impact the mere threat of rent controls have, they continue to pursue this objective, who is funding this work? Bristol landlords have given up! Irrespective of legal and tax costs, it's now a far more robust investment strategy for them to sell up and re-invest in newer built property else where, in a county where the council is more supportive of their landlords, where they are better valued.

Mick Roberts

10:12 AM, 14th February 2024, About A week ago

Another Council boss says it again
North Lincolnshire council leader Rob Waltham says:
The vast majority of local landlords are providing safe, decent homes but we know there are small number of people who do not maintain the standards expected.

“We believe selective licensing will enable us to target the areas where there is poor quality and badly-managed accommodation.

“It will help us address anti-social behaviour and raise standards by forcing rogue landlords and bad tenants to be responsible.

So that means the vast majority of tenants who were being looked after with cheaper rents are now having rent increases to pay for the few bad Landlords. Why should innocent tenants and Landlords suffer?

NewYorkie

12:44 PM, 14th February 2024, About A week ago

If he knows there are a small number who do not maintain the standards expected, target them!

Mick Roberts

14:34 PM, 14th February 2024, About A week ago

I got the wrong post earlier.

You have just made 100's homeless Kye Dudd & increased rents for hundreds more.
You are correct in saying:
“The evidence from the earlier schemes is clear: it has driven up standards. You often might hear the landlord lobby complaining that this is just a tax and we’re trying to raise revenue, or whatever. We’ve got people going out inspecting properties, and it’s worked.”
But have u seen the other evidence? Where the other houses that were already nice are now getting worse cause u Bristol City Council are having the rent money instead?
Have u seen the other evidence where those paying cheap rents, happy to do their own stuff, are now having rent increases to pay for your Licensing?
Those paying cheap rents with already nice houses have now had rent increases?
The other evidence where people can no longer move cause Selective Licensing has increased rents?

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