Manchester City Council has launched a consultation on plans to re-introduce landlord licencing at a potential cost of up to £750 per property.
After it launched its alternative to licensing in March 2015 saying the “Rental Pledge” scheme was a preferable approach to compulsory landlord licensing, which they tried for 5 years without much success, landlords thought they were safe. But it seems not.
A new selective licensing scheme will initially focus on a small part of Crumpsall, covering an area of around 400 private sector homes, with further consultations to be carried out in three other pilot areas in the north of city – parts of Rusholme, Moston and Old Moat (Withington).
Under the plans, says the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), landlords would need to apply for a licence if they rent out a property in the area. They could be fined if they fail to do so. According to the consultation documents seen by the RLA the fee would be between £500 -£750 per property.
To be granted a licence under the scheme landlords must show they are a “fit and proper person” to manage their rental property and the property must meet current housing standards. This includes making sure there are up to date gas and electric safety certificates, that electrical appliances are in a safe condition and that working smoke detectors are fitted.
Manchester City Council said it wants to introduce the scheme to improve standards and conditions in these rental homes and reduce incidences of anti-social behaviour in areas with high concentrations of rental properties.
Meanwhile, another group of landlords were able to breathe a sigh of relief when North Somerset Council decided to scrap its licensing proposal following large-scale opposition and the formation of a local protest group.
“Somerset Property Network” was formed and quickly gathered more than 50 landlords in support of their campaign to block the council’s proposals.
The group emerged using a Facebook campaign, with incensed new members joining at a rapid rate to protest about the proposed imposition of a five-yearly charge of £350, if the licensing proposal went through.
The opposition campaign, which was sponsored by TR Online Lettings, preceded a council decision to shut down their project, resulting in the Council releasing a statement which said:
“North Somerset Council recently decided to introduce a licensing scheme to improve poor-quality private rented housing in Weston-super-Mare town centre, following a 20-week consultation period. This has been challenged by some local landlords who have suggested a number of other alternatives which the council has decided to consider.
“As a result the original scheme which was due to begin on November 1 this year, will not be progressed with. The council remains committed to driving up the standards of privately rented housing across North Somerset.
“Once the additional feedback provided by landlords has been considered, a further review of the options available to improve the condition of privately rented homes will be carried out.”
Although some councils have backed down before, usually as a result of successful legal challenges when they did not follow legislative procedure, it is rare for this to happen as a result of landlord pressure alone.
Licensing Schemes still causing landlords' worry https://t.co/5BRT03s2Bz
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) September 1, 2016