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Landlords slam 'infuriating' licencing rules now driving evictions

portsmouth properties selective licencing

Landlords in Portsmouth say vulnerable tenants are being unfairly displaced due to the council’s draconian additional licencing scheme.

Portsmouth & District Private Landlords Association points to the case of four tenants who are being evicted after their property fell short of the local discretionary standards that call for an extra 8m2 of communal space.

Member Simon Fletcher explains that for the last four years, the terraced house has been occupied by one man in his 50s with complex health issues and three others in their 60s - one with a terminal health condition.

All are on benefits, without family support. Their landlord, who has a full-time job, has been visiting two or three times a week to help out and has even left the rent at the same level as frozen benefits in recent years – two-thirds of the typical market rent - and covers utilities bills.

His tenants only use the communal lounge to store junk, which he periodically clears.

As there isn’t scope to make alterations and retain the occupancy level, the landlord reluctantly decided to switch to a single household let and started possession proceedings.

Terminally ill

Although the council offered supported housing to the terminally ill tenant, the landlord had to help with his move, and expects he’ll have to do the same for the others after their eviction next week.

The landlord is frustrated, says Fletcher. “Even if he could have provided the extra communal space, these tenants would certainly not have used it, while the costs of supporting their accommodation needs from May 8th will be significantly higher for DWP and/or the council than it has previously costed.

This is all the more infuriating when they were all quite well settled and content with their housing situation.”

Portsmouth City Council won’t comment on individual cases, but a spokeswoman says it works with all landlords to support them to comply with licensing.

She adds: “The scheme was introduced to improve the standards of HMOs and where issues are identified the council will communicate and work with the landlord to resolve this. Tenants who are at risk of becoming homeless can walk in and speak to someone at the Civic offices during office hours, no need for an appointment, or visit our website.”


Selective licensing
Portsmouth and district private landlord association