Licensing scheme will cause rents to rise – warns landlord

The proposed selective licensing scheme in Blackpool has sparked concerns among landlords, with Dawn Smith representing a network of landlords warning that the high charges for licensing may be unaffordable without passing the fees onto tenants. Here’s a summary of the situation:

  1. Landlord Concerns: Dawn Smith, speaking on behalf of Blackpool landlords, has expressed concerns about the affordability of the proposed selective licensing fees. She argues that many good landlords may be forced to sell their properties if the proposed fee of £722 per property is implemented.
  2. Council Proposal: Blackpool Town Council aims to introduce a selective licensing scheme covering 11,000 properties across eight wards in the town. The scheme is intended to improve the quality of private sector properties and requires approval from Housing Secretary Michael Gove.
  3. Consultation Results: Despite opposition from 77% of landlords consulted, the council is moving forward with the proposed scheme. Only 61% of tenants supported the move, indicating mixed views among stakeholders.
  4. Enforcement Action: The council justifies the need for licensing by citing recent enforcement actions that found hazards in one in three rental properties, including issues like cold and damp rooms. Improving the quality of private sector properties is a key housing objective for the council.
  5. Licensing Fees: The proposed licensing fee is £722 for a single license covering five years. Discounts are available for properties meeting certain standards or having a high EPC rating. However, landlords argue that even with discounts, the fees may be burdensome.
  6. Impact on Tenants: Smith suggests that if landlords cannot afford the licensing fees, they may have to pass the costs onto tenants. This could potentially lead to increased rents, affecting affordability for tenants in the private rented sector.

In summary, while the council aims to improve housing standards through selective licensing, there are concerns among landlords about the affordability of the proposed fees and the potential impact on tenants.

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