Landlords against licence scheme

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 July 2016

Housing inspector

Housing inspector

Archant

Landlords in Weston-super-Mare say the council’s new licence scheme – aimed at tackling rogue landlords – is ‘short-sighted’ and a ‘money-making exercise’.

But North Somerset Council deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees says it is necessary to improve ‘poor quality rented housing’.

In a bid to improve accommodation standards, the council has introduced a licence to cover Central ward and part of Hillside. The licence will cost £320 and will be valid for five years, so equates to £1.23 a week.

But now, 52 landlords have set up the Somerset Property Network to campaign against the scheme.

A spokesman for the network said all landlords are getting ‘tarred with the same brush’, and said: “We do not need the council to tell us how to run our businesses and charge us for the privilege of doing so.

“So we have created this group for competent landlords across Somerset, where we can all get together and unite as one voice. We can also challenge the council as a united stronghold over landlord issues in the future.

“It is so short-sighted to lose 
landlord support as the tenant only ends up back through the council doors costing North Somerset money.”

The licence will carry a minimum standard criteria and anyone not meeting the benchmark could be prosecuted, so the council could take over the management of the property.

The network has accused the council of introducing the scheme as a ‘money-making exercise’, but Cllr Ap Rees said: “We are determined to root out rogue landlords in this area of Weston and we need to be in a position to inspect all rental properties within the selected area.

“To do that, we have to cover the costs. The basic charge is the cost 
of the license and the compliance visit.

“We accept that sometimes it isn’t the landlords, it may be the tenants that cause the damage but the only way to monitor that is to visit the property.

“Conscientious landlords have nothing to fear.”

To find out more about the network, visit www.facebook.com/groups/SomersetPropertyNetwork

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