The council hopes to extend its scheme in an area of Newport for another five years and has proposed a fee of £998 - up from the current charge of £820. One landlord described the fee as “eye-watering”. Along with three others, he aims to seek a judicial review if the plans go ahead and told Teesside Live that they have already taken legal advice and expect more to join the fight.
“We are going to try and stop it but if we aren’t granted permission for that challenge, we are going to look at using legal loopholes to avoid paying it,” he said. “They are starting off again six months before the current scheme even ends and putting up the fees astronomically.”
Another landlord said: “The re-designation was always on the cards. It’s time now to say enough is enough and either stop or boycott the scheme.”
Applications for a licence in the last 12 months of the scheme would be eligible for a reduced fee of 50% of the second payment, where properties have not been licensable prior to the 12-month deadline.
The council says its schemes in Newport and North Ormesby have led to improved property standards and a drop in anti-social behaviour. Speaking at a council meeting, councillor Theo Furness (pictured) explained that the scheme rewarded good landlords and said: “It stops the bad landlords who are just there to make money and don’t care about the community, don't care about the area.”
Mayor Chris Cooke added: “Going forwards, I would like to see what more we can do to incentivise the good landlords as well as punishing the bad landlords. We need to make sure we have that balance.”
The consultation runs until 12th March.