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City rejects landlords' worries over 'stifling' licencing scheme

bristol selective licencing

Landlords and letting agents in Bristol have failed to scupper plans for city-wide additional licensing and selective licensing in the Bishopston and Ashley Down, Cotham and Easton wards.

The council approved both schemes which take effect on 6th August after rejecting concerns about the cost of licences hitting already compliant landlords.

It received more than 1,500 responses to a public consultation, which found that 52% agreed with the plans and 40% disagreed. Some voiced concerns that the schemes would lead to higher rents for tenants, less affordable housing getting built, and some landlords leaving the market meaning fewer homes available to rent.

Landlord comments included those who told councillors: “licensing is stifling the rental market”, and that it “punishes good landlords just to deal with rogue landlords”.

Accreditation scheme Safeagent said the council’s figures suggested the selective scheme – costing £912 to licence each of the 6,005 privately rented properties in the covered wards -would generate a revenue of £5.48 million.

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

Dudd comments

Councillor Kye Dudd (pictured), cabinet member for housing services and energy, told the meeting: “Our administration believes that having a safe and secure roof over your head is key to ensuring we all have the best possible opportunity to live a happy and healthy life.

“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.”

Read the council's proposals in full.


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