14 Jul 2022

Said Phil Turtle, compliance director with Landlord Licensing & Defence

“A very simple calculation shows that if landlords amortise the fee over 5 years that is £20 pcm on all rents. In reality once the costs of compliance and management are built In – and the fact that many will amortise over a much shorter period, Leicester tenants will be able to thank their council for rent hikes of £30 to £50 pcm.”

Landlords in six areas of Leicester will have to comply with an expensive licensing scheme following a council vote.

The fee for the selective licensing scheme will be between £1,000 and £1,150 for five years, making it the most costly scheme in the Midlands.

Landlords who fail to sign up within the first 12 months will be charged a 20% penalty, though there is a 10% discount for those who sign up within the first six months, as well as an additional 10% discount for investors that are part of a landlord accreditation scheme.

The licensing scheme will apply to the wards of Westcotes, Fosse, Braunstone Park, Rowley Fields, Stoneygate and Saffron.

The council said the scheme focuses on properties where there is evidence of ongoing issues.

Councillor Elly Cutkelvin, Leicester’s assistant city mayor for housing, said: “For many a private rented tenancy is the only chance of a decent home, including for an increasing number of families. The need for good quality, affordable housing has never been greater.

“Ultimately we find some of the worst conditions in the private rented sector and in areas where there is a high concentration of poorly managed properties, community concerns arise that lead to a decline, or feeling of decline, within an area.

“We are committed to working with and supporting landlords and tenants to improve the quality of private-sector rented housing in the city and protecting the most vulnerable people by ensuring their housing and their landlords meet a higher standard in terms of management and safety.”

The scheme has been given the green light after a three-month consultation after the majority of residents supported its introduction.

The council plans to be active in upholding standards set out by the scheme, which goes some way to explaining why it’s so expensive for landlords.

Properties will be inspected before landlords gain a license, while a further check will be carried out within the first year.

After that all properties will be inspected at least once during the five-year licensing period.

The council will check whether landlords have the ability to manage and maintain properties, for example that they live close enough to respond to any issues.

Checks will also focus on whether gas and electrics are safe, as well as whether smoke, fire and carbon monoxide alarms are installed.

Visits will typically be pre-arranged, though the council can carry out unannounced visits in some circumstances, for example if it thinks a property should be licensed or there is a suspected breach of the rules.

While the licensing scheme could drive up standards, it could result in higher rents as landlords take on this additional financial burden.

The scheme is due to come into effect in October 2022 and will initially run for five years.

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