Landlords in Birmingham have slammed the city’s new selective licensing scheme which some claim is unfairly targeting ethnic communities.
The scheme, which took effect at the beginning of June, affects all landlords in 25 of the city’s wards which have more than 20% of rented properties and high levels of deprivation. The council will begin enforcement work at more than 40,000 properties from September.
Liz Murphy, who lets several flats in the city centre, told the BBC she was shocked to learn of the £700-per-property fee. “At a time when margins are small and ever decreasing, many landlords may just sell up and leave the market, which is not good for the community. I would love to hold the council to account and ask where my £700 will go. We can’t see any value to this.”
She added it felt “very likely” that costs would be passed on to tenants, something she described as “faulty logic” on the local authority’s part.
“I think the problem the council and the government need to understand is that if they make it more expensive and more complicated for landlords, a lot of us will just sell up and stop being landlords.”
Letting agent and landlord Mohammed Hamed also criticised the council’s approach, which he said was unfairly targeting predominantly black and ethnic minority areas.
“If it was across the board and all over Birmingham then I could understand,” said Hamed. “But if you look at the percentage of people who live in these 25 wards, it is all ethnic minority.”
LandlordZONE forum members have been equally scathing, one calling the scheme an 'unfair tax on the PRS'.
The council has explained that it wants to ensure private properties in the poorest wards are providing fit and proper accommodation and that landlords are meeting their legal responsibilities.