9:56 AM, 21st July 2011, About 10 years ago 3
Disgruntled landlords have paid out £315,000 fees in a year to comply with a council’s new house in multiple occupation licensing scheme.
Cardiff City Council has billed the landlords for 824 licence applications in the Cathays neighbourhood, a favourite haunt for students at the city’s universities.
The council reckons the district has 1,500 HMOs needing a licence , but has only granted 500 so far with another 320 in the pipeline.
Landlords claim the £500 HMO additional licensing fees are a money generating scheme that has no point, while the council argues licensing means better quality housing for tenants.
Douglas Haig, of Cardiff Landlords Forum, said: “Our argument is additional licensing is a fee generating exercise.
“The resources generated by additional licensing have clearly not been spent particularly wisely. It would appear the council will expand the scheme in to another district simply to increase revenue to keep the scheme going.”
Landlords would prefer the fees to finance a benchmark HMO standard rather than just end up in a pool with other council spending.
The fees are paid by owners of small HMOs with three to five tenants.
A council spokesman said: “Landlords with four or five students in a property make more than £60,000 over five years, so to ask for £500 to make sure the property is up to standard is not a lot.
“We’re checking fire safety and ensuring that gas and electricity certificates are up to date.”
Meanwhile, Bath and North East Somerset Council is ploughing £45,000 in to a report looking at whether to implement planning permission for all HMOs.
If the report recommends tighter HMO controls, the council will start consultation for Article 4 Direction under the Town and Country Planning Act to run from the end of 2012.
The direction requires landlords to apply for planning permission to convert family homes to HMOs.
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