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News: Landlord slams council “money raising” licensing red tape

Tue, 05 Jan 21

A landlord leader has hit out at a council’s selective licensing scheme, suggesting it is “bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake” and nothing more than a money-making exercise.

South Tyneside council is introducing the scheme into two designated zones in South Shields, claiming it will drive up housing standards.

Landlords will have to operate with a licence awarded by the council, which demands a fee of around £550 per property for a five-year period.

But Colin Campbell, chair of the local landlords’ association, has told The Shields Gazette and the council itself that it is nothing more than a “money-making exercise.” 

He says legislation already exists to drive up housing standards and that landlords penalised by the scheme are those who already abide by the rules and pay to register. 

Campbell also claims rogue landlords would not identify themselves as letting properties, thereby dodging the fees and undermining the scheme.

“Selective licensing is bringing good landlords down for no reason, it’s bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake” he tells the paper.

A council spokesman says: “The private rented sector plays an important role in South Tyneside’s housing market, but some areas present challenges where properties have been subject to neglect, leading to increased anti-social behaviour, general area decline and a high turnover of tenancies.

“The introduction of selective licensing in these areas provides the council with an opportunity to drive up standards and reduce turnover in some of the worst privately-rented accommodation.

“It will enable the council to engage with and provide additional focused support to landlords and tenants within those areas and work towards a more desirable and sustainable housing environment.

“The scheme will be self-financing and non-profit-making over the five-year-period, with the fees covering the cost of the additional resources required to make the desired improvements to the area.

“Officers will be proactive in identifying tenanted accommodation and engaging with landlords to pursue payment throughout the period of the scheme.

“Any income generated will be used for the running of the scheme or improvements in the licensed areas.”

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