Nottingham Selective licensing adds £40 pm costs to tenants

by Mick Roberts

15:45 PM, 4th September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Nottingham Selective licensing adds £40 pm costs to tenants

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Nottingham Selective licensing adds £40 pm costs to tenants

Nottingham City Council 5-year Selective Licensing period

A typical family home, under this scheme will see rents impacted by circa £40.00 pcm over a 5-year period. (See table) We have not accounted for other pressures such as landlord tax changes, but believe Selective Licensing will bring higher rents as yields on c3 properties make it difficult for landlords to absorb these extra costs

£500.00 Garden maintenance over 5 years
£450.00 Tenant referencing-£25pp per year
£100.00 Drafting and implementing anti-social behaviour management plan
£250.00 Installing front & back door thumb turn locks
£500.00 Commissioning Inventories with photographs over a 5-year period
£150.00 Landlords to undertake formal training once every 3 years
£150.00 PAT testing over 5 years
£140.00 EICR once every 5 years
£355.00 Court possession costs
Total £2595.00

In Nottingham we have seen many landlords, particularly housing benefit landlords transfer the management of their properties over to letting agents due to the introduction of Selective Licensing. This has been driven by factors such as lack of confidence, fear of having their licence cancelled and skill set to effectively comply with conditions that come with the scheme.

For example, landlord anxiety and responsibility for dealing with anti-social behaviour and  notifying tenants of rent increases to pay for the cost of licensing and agent fees has also been a major driver to appoint agents.

Sadly, since August 1st, 2018 we have seen a significant increase in family homelessness in Nottingham. Each week around 80-100 households present themselves as homeless to Nottingham City Council.  In Nottingham a total of 2,415 households were accepted as homeless, or threatened with the immediate prospect of homelessness, and were entitled to help from the council in the last six months of 2018.

This data was published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities of Local Government

Clearly, Selective Licensing has impacted homelessness numbers, as many landlords have served possession notices to deal with a spike in rent arrears created by rents increasing to absorb increasing costs of business.

On a positive point, the introduction of a great initiative from the local landlord accreditation scheme called “Call Before you serve” is helping with stemming the eviction rates in other areas outside Nottingham where Selective Licensing is in operation.

My experiences on the costs and repercussions so far:

I’ve faced extra costs for admin to do the License form as it wasn’t easy. I have 2 offices and 3 screens on my computer, I know what I’m doing and I even struggled, having to employ someone. Letting Agents were charging Landlords £120 per application.

More Section 21’s at over time as tenant can no longer afford the extra rent required for the extra costs from Licensing. Plus Section 21’s for the tenant’s that you know damage stuff, Landlord normally let go, but now can’t let go as we think (although it’s not happened yet) gonna’ get a Licensing inspection at a moments notice and once they see damaged house, gonna’ make us fix it. No way are we fixing for a tenant that we know will damage again things again.

I had this in Oct & Jan two evictions purely because of Licensing. One Housing Aid know very well Miss XXXXX  XXXX. Rent increases for the tenants to pay for Licensing when they weren’t even paying the proper rent before, so now evicted.

Letting agent costs as well now as we can no longer cope with the fear of being fined for some due dilligence we may have missed.

Mental Health cost to landlords & tenants.

Landlords having to sell up many more years earlier than planned as Licensing has tipped them over the edge. This is tens of thousands of pounds. Why has a 70 year old Landlord with tenants of 30 years standing, had to go on courses to train? He’s now selling.

Cost to Councils & Govt for the homeless is massive. The biggest losers out of this are the vulnerable tenants who before Licensing may have got a house with no money down. Now no Landlord taking them without deposit rent up front etc. It’s costing them £1700+.

And Nottingham Housing Aid are offering all sorts of sweeteners to Landlords to take tenants on and keep tenants in their homes.



Comments

David Price

11:49 AM, 5th September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

My lease has a clause:-
"Rent £xxx plus any fees or taxes imposed by local or central government."
Saves the trouble of a section 13 notice.

Mick Roberts

17:32 PM, 5th September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 05/09/2019 - 11:49
Eh, I'm not a legal man, but anyone know how that would transpire, now we have the tenant fee ban? As this is a fee coming straight from the Imbecile Council. Who incidentally, the 2 main councillors for bringing this in have now gone.

Some Landlords did start to do as u, put the costs on the next tenancies.

Annie Landlord

17:52 PM, 5th September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

And in addition to the points you make Mick, there is no evidence that licensing improves property condition apart from the odd few the councils inspect, or has any impact on the incidence of ASB, or on the level of homelessness. It seems most of the money goes on staff costs

Old Mrs Landlord

8:18 AM, 6th September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 05/09/2019 - 17:52
I think Mick has shown evidence that there is considerable impact on the level homelessness!

Mick Roberts

9:02 AM, 6th September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 05/09/2019 - 17:52I haven't seen one house improve from it yet. I HAVE SEEN LOTS AND LOTS of the good houses good Landlords good tenants houses GET WORSE cause of the time and admin involved from the Landlord on sorting the Licensing bureaucracy paperwork out for Licensing, never mind the colossal money spent on licensing that could have gone on good refurbishment new kitchen boiler bathroom etc.
All my tenants have had a little rent increase cause of Licensing.
Tenants of 22 years that have done nothing wrong and has none of this trouble that Licensing is to target like bins left out and anti social behaviour etc.
This Nottingham Council are a travesty to good people who have suffered and paid a cost cause of Licensings obsession with thinking all Landlords were bad
Yes, because Data protection, GDPR etc., the SAME council Licensing can't walk into the SAME council Housing Benefit department in the SAME building to ask which Landlords are receiving HB. So now the Licensing Officers are WALKING the streets knocking on EVERY unlicensed house to see if a tenant answers the door & will engage with them. They knocking on Private owner occupiers & all sorts. That seems to be the only way they can find the 16,000 or so that hasn't come forward. So us 16,000 Landlords that have paid & the tenants rent increases, that's where our money is going.

Mick Roberts

9:04 AM, 6th September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 06/09/2019 - 08:18
If people like me have ONLY took vulnerable HB tenants, a lot homeless, for the past 22 years, & cause of http://www.selectivelicensingtruth.co.uk , I can no longer take the vulnerable, choosing instead if any houses come up, to leave them with Letting Agent, who choose the Super clean perfect better earning Guarantor tenants. And others now think same as me going forwards, where does that leave the lower end tenant who has in effect done nothing wrong?

I used to get around 3 to 4 tenants leave me per year (If I didn't have anything for them to move/swap with), move near their Mum miles away, bigger, smaller etc.
For 18 months or so, I am having ZERO, I REPEAT ZERO tenants leave me. Cause they can't get anywhere.
All other Landlords, Letting Agents choosing Mr Perfect working tenant. No Landlords taking HB UC any more. My lot can't go any more, even if they hated me (which they don't-I hope......), they just cannot get anywhere in Nottingham any more. And also all rents have gone up way above what they paying me.

This ain't about me any more, but the negative for me, is I can't retire any more. I'm not one for kicking tenant out their home of 22+ years when they've done nothing wrong, but I would at one point like to stop doing this job of being the Gov'ts & Council's cash cow.

Harder u make it for Landlord, harder u make it for tenant.
Bash the Landlord, u bash the tenant.

When Licensing came in, Nottingham tenants loved it, said yeah get the greedy Landlord. 80% of Nottingham tenants are against it now I've got the truth out there.
https://youtu.be/CmM3vXWVV9Y

They charging £780 a house & not inspecting the houses & making Landlords jump through hoops till 10pm.
Yet the other side of the Council, the Homeless section are begging & offering Deposit & rent up front to us Landlords to take the tenants that have just been evicted from the Licensing side of the Council. Nuts.
I'm begging 'em to talk together. The Homeless side daren't shout up cause scared for their jobs.
They aren't even asking Landlords why they've issued the Section 21. There is no record to say 85% increase in homeless cause of Licensing. Homeless side now say the people coming through the door has quadruped since Licensing.
The Councillors just say complicated & issues like Universal Credit. Bullsxxt. I'm the biggest Landlord in Nottingham to be affected by both & UC yes is a problem, but not enough been affected by it yet. The homeless here is cause of Licensing.

The problem with the normal Licensing scheme's, is that they have made that many homeless introducing retrospective punitive change to tenants that didn't have a problem.

Having to pay £780 for what? I've got new boiler, new kitchen, new bathroom, but now u charging me tenant £780? And don't be mistaken, the tenant pays for this.
Rent pays EVERYTHING.
Meanwhile as shown above, the bad Landlords stay quiet & u might catch a few of 'em using the good landlords money. So u catch a few, but is that worth the risk of the thousands of good houses good landlords good tenants being made homeless for u to catch a few.

We'd all support Licensing if they charged £300 & inspected EVERY HOUSE!

David Lovegrove

8:16 AM, 7th September 2019
About A week ago

Mick , have you written evidence of the homelessness figures before and after licensing I may have to challenge another authority?
Leeds City Council have also recently acknowledged that their recent designation may result in a increase in homelessness.

Mick Roberts

11:23 AM, 7th September 2019
About A week ago

I'm doing a FOI as we speak which they trying very hard to evade. At moment, we've established homeless costs have gone up 30% in a year, when previous increase was by a few percent.
It will now be hard to quantify as the Council are desperately trying to buy 300 ex council houses back from ex RTB buyers to house these homeless. So this £30 million quid or so isn't gonna' be in their figures & one could argue it's an investment for them. Nevertheless, it's something they've had to do cause of Licensing that they din't have to do before.
Tell Leeds to just ring Nottingham Housing Aid 0115 8763300 & ask them how many more people coming through the door since Licensing? What's their job like now? They won't put it in writing as they work for the same council as Licensing.
Tell Leeds to really think Yes u may will get a few bad Landlords. But at what risk of hundreds and thousands homeless who didn't have a problem before & have now just had rent increases to pay for it or evictions cause you've pushed the Landlord too far.
They have no brains. They know nothing of clause 24.
Benefit caps we've suffered with.
And Nottingham Council bought Licensing in 2 months before UC came to Nottingham. Thick or what. Baseball bat the Landlord won't u. UC vulnerable tenants can no longer get a house by normal methods.

Heather G.

11:04 AM, 8th September 2019
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 07/09/2019 - 11:23
Hi Nick,
Our council is about to start consulting on a new 5 year borough-wide licence and I'm thinking about doing an FOI request to find out if they can justify it. Would you mind sending me your request to use as a template please? Also happy to hear any other suggestions of info to request from P118 members.

Mick Roberts

15:58 PM, 8th September 2019
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Heather G. at 08/09/2019 - 11:04
The battle against Licensing has got to come from tenants, who as it's not affected them, won't bother about any Selective Licensing, some saying Good greedy Landlord having a big charge, not thinking this is gonna' impact on the rent price.
Once the Councillors start getting emails, letters off tenants, they think twice, about listening to the Landlords points.

The FOI u want off me, I only did them, as to get some figures as to humiliate them the year after when the homeless figures, have gone up.

Below are some FOI's I did, I ridiculed them on the streets with no trouble, they din't have an answer for months, & then they just said Well, it's the 'area' To which I said How big's a f___ing area? London? Midlands? 20 miles? Let's license the whole f___ing UK then.

Dear FOI,

How much has Nottingham City Council spent on temporary accommodation housing homeless individuals in 2016/17

The same in 2013 to 14

The same in 14-15

The same in 15-16

Please can you provide an annual cost breakdown by category to the council for housing citizens in temporary accommodation (B&B, Hotels & Emergency shelters) for the following years: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017?

Please can you provide details on the number of households Nottingham City Council is housing into the private rented sector for the following years: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017?

Can you please ask Selective Licensing how much they expect it to cost for an officer to check one property.

And what do they do with the lots of £600's they hope to receive, when not using the funds to inspect properties?

Dear FOI,

On each of the roads,streets, Closes, and crescents below please can you provide the following information:

How many legitimate compliants have there been over the last three years concerning the following issues?

Evidence of low housing demand?

Significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour?

Poor property conditions?

High levels of migration?

High level of deprivation?

Has high levels of crime?

Yours sincerely,

They refused the above, so I reworded with this.

I’m copying in XXXX & XXXX too, as they may be more willing to help as they have been halfway to ground level to see what is happening on the Landlords side & how we are being unfairly punished.

My first request to you:

I was asking “how many” complaints on that road, not “which houses”. So I ask again for the figures based on all those streets together (ie an average).
I wasn’t asking about any individual as you suggest, & I think when this progresses, you will be seen as being awkward & withholding information.

Some of these roads have more than 200 houses on, average 6 per household let’s say, 1200 people & you say one complaint may help me identify that one person? Can you see where I’m going here? Yes I think you being silly because you know what I am after with lack of evidence to support Licensing on these roads.
Where do you draw the line? 700 house? 5000 houses? What are you saying is enough small quantity to refuse? Is there anything in the Commissioners handbook? Because he will be getting this email soon, should you not comply.

Should you still wish to not tell me, let's re-phrase it before I send the first request to the Information commissioner.

Please send me the data or roads where there have been NO instances of the below in the year 2013-14, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18.

This way, there is no data protection as there will be nothing confidential to divulge.

I ask this as I have purposely paid more for houses on roads where there has been no obvious evidence of the below.

It appears u know something I don't if there is indeed trouble on these roads where I have had houses 20 years and not experienced any problems that should warrant Selective Licensing.

On each of the roads,streets, Closes, and crescents that you already have & I will send again if you wish to be awkward, please can you provide the following information:

How many legitimate complaints have there been over the last three years concerning the following issues?

Evidence of low housing demand?

Significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour?

Poor property conditions?

High levels of migration?

High level of deprivation?

Has high levels of crime?

So if there has been nothing on Holmewood Crescent for example, please say There has been no instances of the above on that road.
And the same with: So if there has been nothing on Acle Gardens for example, please say There has been no instances of the above on that road.

As said in reply email:

You should have this info as every time someone calls 101, the complaints is registered logged on the Flare complaints database.

XXXX, can you go to complaints database & get me the info for the roads. I'm not asking for individual houses.
They have this data if there is indeed complaints.
If there isn't any complaints, that is what I am trying to find out & we shouldn't have Selective Licensing on them roads.

We know they have this data & we think they are reluctant to release as of the above.
This database of a road isn't data protection.

By not responding to this request undermines the scheme on these roads.


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