13 Mar 23
A council has criticised landlords in its area for not completing its selective licensing forms properly and says that out of 700 applications they have received, three quarters are missing vital information.
That then leads to a delay for the council in granting the licence because the landlord has to be chased to supply the missing details.
The issue comes from Leicester City Council which is warning landlords that they have until next month to get the ‘early bird’ discount for a licence.
Helps landlords deal with councils and their selective licensing schemes
But one expert who helps landlords deal with councils and their selective licensing schemes says that councils should not be criticising landlords – but should look to themselves instead.
Phil Turtle, the compliance director at Landlord Licensing & Defence, said: “Councils across the UK use one of only three or four standard licensing websites and they are all beyond awful for the users.
“The reason is that they are designed purely for the council employees on the backend and the only thought that goes into them is what information to demand from the landlords and usually in the most difficult way possible.”
‘The user experience is the worst’
Mr Turtle went on: “On all of these systems, the user experience is the worst one can possibly imagine with little or, more usually, zero forewarning of the information or documents needed and the systems will not let you proceed if you don’t have the document, they didn’t tell you you’d need and then kick you out at the drop of a mayoral chain.”
He added: “So council-focused are these systems that most don’t even send you a copy of what you’ve input.
“So, unless you are savvy enough to screenshot every page, you will never have a record of what you applied for!
“And now the council is bleating because out of the properties they set out to selective licence at £1,000-a-pop, they’ve only issued a pathetic 230 licenses since October 2020.”
Landlords should not be blamed
He says that landlords should not be blamed for having to use over-complicated applications processes.
Mr Turtle said: “As to blaming landlords for not giving Leicester the information they need, then this can only be due to Leicester completely messing-up the setup of their horrid licensing software.
“A landlord’s fault? That doesn’t seem very credible, does it?”
Early bird discount for its selective licensing scheme
The complaint about landlords comes after the council gave a reminder about the 10% early bird discount for its selective licensing scheme that is being introduced in three areas of the city.
The council says it has issued 230 full licences so far and 97 draft licences that will become a full licence after 14 days.
Leicester’s assistant city mayor for housing, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, said: “Selective licensing is a vital tool in raising standards in the private rented sector for all.
“The scheme has now been running for four months, and in that time we’ve already addressed a range of safety issues which landlords needed to sort out in order to ensure their properties meet a suitably high standard.”
Council is running a series of drop-in sessions
Ms Cutkelvin highlighted that the council is running a series of drop-in sessions over the coming weeks to ensure that all landlords who are eligible are aware of what they need to do, and why.
Leicester’s Selective Licensing scheme will run for five years with a license costing landlords £1,090 – but there are various discounts available including for early applications, charitable organisations, properties with good energy efficiency and for landlords with multiple properties.
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