Council accused of HMO 'money-making'
- 20th October 2009
- Landlord Property News
HMO licencing costs brought into spotlight as allegations against Newcastle council claim fees are unjustified.
The HMO regulations, introduced in 2006, allowed each council to determine the costs of their licencing.
The fees are to cover the costs of checks on the property to ensure it conforms to a good standard, and with the correct safety measures. There is also a check on landlords' own criminal and financial records.
Dominic Robinson, National Landlords' Association (NLA) for Tyne & Wear said:
“We feel the council is quite anti-landlord. Most landlords are trying to provide very good quality accommodation and are investing in our properties yet we feel we’re being penalised.
“The private rented sector plays an important role in providing housing in Newcastle and the city’s reputation as a university city is partly based on that. It would be nice to have some evidence of what the money we’re paying is being used for.”
Steven Savage, Director of Regulatory Services and Public Protection, Newcastle City Council, responded:
“The city prides itself in providing the safest accommodation for students and peace of mind for parents, as you would expect of a first-class university city. In partnership with landlords, the city has an enviable track record in the provision of good quality private rented accommodation.
“Fees have been set to only recover costs with no impact on the taxpayer. This is not a revenue earner.”
In London, the cost of an HMO licence, as well as the method of working out the fee differs between boroughs.
In Lambeth the cost in calculated by the number of 'habitable rooms', each costing up to £150.
Alternatively, in Camden there is a fee of £500, plus £25 for each let.
Consistently, however, discounts are offered for landlords signed up to an Accredited Landlord scheme. In Brent Council, there is an extra charge for properties that are found by the council to be without an HMO.
Contact your local council for information about HMO licencing fees and discounts.
We feel the council is quite anti-landlord.
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