Milton Keynes abandon Selective Licensing

by Property 118

16:32 PM, 18th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Milton Keynes abandon Selective Licensing

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Milton Keynes abandon Selective Licensing

Milton Keynes City Council has abandoned plans to introduce a proposed city-wide Selective Licensing scheme under pressure from the National Landlords Association NLA.

The NLA have been leading the fight against selective licensing through its local landlord members, meeting with local authorities and action groups as well as launching a social media campaign. Milton Keynes Council concluded last week that the introduction of a city-wide licensing scheme would not solve the issues of poor housing standards, anti-social behavior and low housing demand in the area.

In a further piece of good news for landlords, the council also cut the license fee on all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) by over half, from £800 to £300.

Richard Lambert, CEO of the NLA said, “this is fantastic news for landlords in Milton Keynes and we thank all those involved in reaching this conclusion.”

“Selective licensing is a powerful tool at the disposal of local authorities, but it should only be used when appropriate. The clear message from Milton Keynes is that they intend to take a more proactive stance and focus on the existing powers they have available to combat poor standards in the area, an approach the NLA has long argued is more effective.”

“It’s important that the NLA represents the views of its members who saw this as the wrong move. Nevertheless, we’re committed to working with Milton Keynes City Council to improve property standards in the area, to promote best practice and to encourage co-operation between the council, landlords and their tenants.”

“As such tenants can take advantage of the NLA Tenant Information Pack, while landlords can get the basic tools to succeed with their property business by signing up as an NLA Associate Landlord on our website.”Selective Licensing



Comments

Adam Hosker

17:35 PM, 18th March 2014
About 5 years ago

"focus on the existing powers they have available" is the main point for me, they already have these powers.

The reason used normally to justify the costs and licensing is they don't have powers. This is untrue, they don't enforce them.

Jerry Jones

9:38 AM, 19th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Selective Licensing in Middlesbrough has completely transformed an area where I have two houses, North Ormesby. It used to be poor but reasonably decent and now it has become the repository for all the trouble moved on from TS1, the city centre, after SL was imposed there. Very hard to get anyone to even view now, for a newly decorated and carpeted house, rewired, with a new boiler (the last one having been stolen at less than a year old!). Rent set at LHA level and a few incentives offered too, such as free cable TV and broadband!

In other words, you can't even give it away free to an LHA recipient.

Nicola Parsler

21:05 PM, 19th March 2014
About 5 years ago

I think it is important to acknowledge that the Milton Keynes Private Landlords Association http://www.mkpla.org.uk were also instrumental in this result. Indeed members of the MKPLA committee, including myself, have attended and spoken at every council select committee and cabinet meeting on this topic. In our campaign we have been ably supported by Gavin Dick and John Socha of the NLA (and others behind the scenes) who have done a great job of sourcing the legal precedents which enabled us to put together a strong,coherant argument. However the power of the local campaign and submissions to the consultation which was spear headed by MKPLA was also a significant contribution. As a result of the FOI requests we were also able to encourage reduction in the current licence fee for HMO's which means that some landlords will be getting a refund! These results are a good example of how a national organisation and a local group can successfully work together to achieve a desired objective. However, the decision reached by the cabinet was not 100% positive (from a landlords point of view). They voted to investigate further the possibility of licensing small HMO's (additional licensing) borough wide. Both MKPLA and the NLA will continue to be involved, to represent landlords interests and to offer viable alternatives.

Adam Hosker

21:21 PM, 19th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Nicola Parsler, people power!

Are the FOI requests on "what do they know"? or available? .. I imagine that would make very intriguing reading for HMO owners nationwide.

Adam@hosker.info (if you can share).

Neil Patterson

8:29 AM, 20th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Nicola Parsler" at "19/03/2014 - 21:05":

Yes very well done Milton Keynes Private Landlords Association http://www.mkpla.org.uk

Nicola Parsler

8:35 AM, 20th March 2014
About 5 years ago

Adam Hosker - some basic background. MK council has a history of expressing concern regarding the proliferation of HMO's in the town. This became officially translated more into a concern about fire safety/ASB when an unlicensed HMO (one that should have been licensed and the landlord was breaking HHSRS precautions on) was set on fire by a psycopathic ex of one tenant.Two people died, one a toddler.

As you can imagine in this sort of climate, some of the language and suggestions made by councillors during public meetings was emotive. The findings of council housing officers were largely iognored. MKPLA was concerned that decisions were being driven by strongly held opinion rather than fact. The NLA suggested that we use the FOI legislation to establish what statistics there really were on ASB. We also asked questions about the allocations of funds from mandatory licences as MK's fee of £885 was fairly top end compared to other LAs.

The findings were almost universally that the information they held did not give them evidence to support the view that ASB was worse in the PRS. This was largely because the police/council do not record the tenure of housing. The answer to most of our questions was "we don't hold that information".

When it came to the licence fees the breakdown was enough for us to query the fee (the law states that it can only be used for administration, not enforcement) and the council have since dramatically reduced it.

I would heartily recommend this approach to other areas as quite apart from the information we recieved back I believe that our questions highlighted some areas of the law which the council were not previously aware of. Did you know that cabinet members are personally liable if they pass local legislation and then lose a judicial review?

I believe that the consultation report from ORS is now in the public domain and this contains most of the facts we were able to ascertain via FOI. (MKPLA were invited to participate in the consultation as stakeholders and our Chairman Alex Caravello is an excellent advocate)

Alex

13:26 PM, 23rd March 2014
About 5 years ago

Thanks Nikki!

MKPLA fought long and hard on this issue. We were there from the very beginning, a year ago, campaigning with our Members, through the local press and lobbying local Councillors to help open their eyes to the very real negative effects of extended landlord licensing. It was a long hard slog, but hopefully, worthwhile.

I would very much like to acknowledge all the assistance we received from my good friend John Socha and the NLA's excellent Local Authority Policy Officer Gavin Dick. They really helped us understand the murky way that local government works!

However, I was disappointed to read the NLA's Chief Executive Officer Richard Lambert claim this victory for himself, especially as he failed to acknowledge MKPLA and the fact that it was actually MKPLA that led the fight, assisted by the NLA and the RLA, not the other way around. Never mind, he obviously felt that this would score strong political brownie points for the NLA, so we’ll try not to take offense!

If anyone wants to read MKPLA’s extremely well considered response to the consultation (even if I say so myself!), you can read it here >> http://tinyurl.com/MKPLA-Response.

Only time will tell whether we’ve won the war, or simply won a battle. Either way, MKPLA and its Members will be there to meet any future challenges head on.

Well done Milton Keynes landlords!


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