0:01 AM, 24th January 2023, About A year ago 34
A new selecting licensing scheme is to go to the government for approval – but councillors don’t want landlords to add the licensing fee to a tenant’s rent.
That’s the call from Nottingham City Council which says it ‘does not believe landlords will need to increase tenants’ rent to cover the cost of a licence application’.
Councillors say the licence should be factored into a landlord’s business plan and any previous rent rises should cover the fee.
The scheme is set to begin in August 2023 which would, the council says, give landlords time to plan.
However, one of the city’s biggest landlords says that tenants are aware that they will be paying the cost of the new licence.
Mick Roberts, who is one the city’s largest landlords, told Property118: “All smart tenants know that their rent pays for everything.
“And if landlords are already charging 70% of the market rent to look after long-term tenants, which just about pays for the current outgoings, do the council think he is going carry on charging that cheap rent?
“Even after the council gives that property/tenant an £800+ charge?”
Nottingham’s new selective licensing scheme will mean that landlords must prove their properties meet required standards, the council says.
Coun Toby Neal, the council’s portfolio holder for housing and human resources, said: “People renting privately have a right to expect a decent standard of accommodation.
“Many of the 45,000 plus privately rented properties in the city are well-managed but, as part of the first scheme we still find properties that are to a very poor standard.
“Homes with damp and mould, homes with no smoke alarms or hot water or heating; so there is more work to be done.”
Mr Roberts said: “Toby Neale has never housed anyone in his life and says ‘We can’t see landlords putting rents up’.
“Many of us landlords are 100% putting rents up to pay for this.
“Nottingham Council has created an outgoing on a house that was spick span and had money spent on it.
“That outgoing needs paying for, never mind the laborious unnecessary admin involved.”
He added: “Mr Neal says there are some bad houses – well go get them then, don’t hurt the 80% that have zero problems.
“The council is wrecking low-earning tenants’ lives.”
Mr Roberts continued: “The new licensing scheme starts in August 2023 and, to date, they have managed to make improvements to less than 2% of properties during their current licensing scheme.
“That means that 98% of tenants who will have seen their rents increased will have received nothing in return.
“In fact, money that could have been spent on improvements will have been spent on licensing fees.
“In my opinion, the proposed licensing scheme is a politically motivated attack from a council that cannot be trusted and are either too stupid to realise or simply not bothered about the facts that their unnecessary licensing scheme is going to push up the cost of renting a house in Nottingham higher than it needs to be.”
However, Mr Roberts also says that he won’t put up rents – if he can pay all the licensing fees in one go without spending hundreds of hours filling in paperwork.
He says that the total fee would be £57,000 and he tells the council: “Ring me tomorrow, I’ll pay your £57,000 and I PROMISE to give zero tenants a rent increase if that is ALL I have to do.
“No paperwork. No form filling in. No inspections. No hundreds of hours sending you documents and forms.”
He added: “This is for your sake, not mine.
“Some of you councillors are aware I wish to sell many of my houses but can’t because licensing has stopped tenants from moving.
“And most of my tenants are aware they are paying far too cheap a rent which doesn’t pay for 2023’s outgoings – which is why all other landlords’ rents have gone up.”