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EXCLUSIVE: Landlord slams council over 'misleading' licencing report

Gary Wernwick selective licencing

Blackpool Council has been accused of deliberately disguising the results of its selective licensing consultation report to help it push through a new scheme.

The report splits out responses into gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age and disability, but fails to break down how many tenants, landlords or other groups responded.

In fact, only 67 tenants filled in the form compared with 94 landlords, which landlord Gary Wernick (main image, inset) discovered when he made a Freedom of Information request.

The council also admitted to having 134 ‘any other category respondents’ who are not tenants, landlords or charities, out of just 267 responses.

Councillors approved the hugely enlarged scheme in February which will cover 11,000 privately rented properties in the central area of Blackpool and now needs the green light from Housing Secretary Michael Gove.

Wernick, who owns two Blackpool properties and lives out of the area in Manchester, is not only unhappy that the proposed licence fee - £722 - will cost him two and a half months’ rent, but also that he wasn’t notified about the consultation, he tells LandlordZONE.

Didn't bother

“The council have my contact details as I have benefits tenants, but they didn’t bother to write to me,” says Wernick. “Other councils where I have properties have contacted me when conducting a consultation.”

He says that in a BBC article, the council highlighted that 61% of tenants supported the scheme. But crunching the numbers, this is 41 renters, just 15 more than those who didn’t support it, explains Wernick. Slightly more tenants - 44 - expressed their concern that landlords would pass on the costs through increased rent.  

“I was surprised that 19% of private landlords would reply that the scheme is a good idea,” he adds. “So, I wonder if these responses are from the local authority’s housing who, as public landlords, are exempt from paying these fees and are not affected by the proposals.”

A Blackpool Council spokesperson tells LandlordZONE: “A thorough consultation exercise was undertaken designed to reach as many people as possible using a variety of channels. The results of the consultation and the methodology is published on our website.”


Selective licensing