Landlords have accused Gedling Borough Council of being ‘short sighted’ for going ahead with plans to implement a scheme for private rented housing during the coronavirus crisis.
Gedling Borough Council this week announced it has launched a consultation to see if a selective licensing scheme for private landlords is needed in wider areas after a successful trial in Netherfield
The scheme will make it mandatory for landlords to have licences for each of their private rented properties.
It was successfully piloted in Netherfield and the consultation is asking for views to expand it to Colwick, Carlton Hill, Daybrook and Newstead Village.
The licence requires that landlords meet a minimum standard of accommodation for residents.
But the move has been slammed by EMPO – a not-for-profit Landlords Association that represents the need of Residential Landlords across the East Midlands.
Giles Inman, EMPO’s Business Development Manager, said: “It is disappointing at a time of national crisis that Gedling Borough Council has commenced a 12-week landlord licensing consultation to license family homes in Carlton Hill, Colwick, Daybrook and Newstead Village as from June 2021
“This consultation is contrary to MHCLG guidance which asked local authorities to suspend this kind of activity until the crisis was over. How Gedling Borough Council can practically prepare for and produce such a scheme with their staff out of the office is baffling.
Local agent and EMPO member, David James also condemned the move.
He said: “At a time when the private rental sector is seeing massive challenges, it is short-sighted of the council to perceive selective licensing as having a positive impact in any capacity.
“In Netherfield, we have encountered landlords disposing of good quality housing stock over the last 2 years as a direct effect of selective licensing. When the council ran the initial consultation on licensing the Netherfield ward, they stated they had no desire to extend the scheme and they had targeted Netherfield as it met all the deprivation triggers that would lead a local authority to consider a selective licensing scheme.
“We are struggling to see how they can use the same criteria in areas such as Carlton Hill. Furthermore, we still have client money sat in our client’s account in relation to licensing applications submitted in 2018. How can they justify extending this scheme when they haven’t even processed the 600-odd applications from the last two years.”
Another local agent and EMPO member, Woo Properties said “When Gedling first introduced their scheme, we were pleased to see that they concentrated on just one small area of problem. If they expand the area in the current climate, then that makes them no different to Nottingham City Council. i.e. no consideration for landlords providing a much-needed service.
“At a time when we have noticed investors beginning to hold back from putting more money into BTLs, this will be another reason for them not to invest in much needed rented housing in these proposed areas.”
Gedling Borough Council has defended the decision.
Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke, said: “We welcome the views of property agents, landlords and landlord associations such as EMPO which is why we have opened a consultation and we hope they will take part in the consultation and attend the landlord specific meetings we are organising as part of the consultation.
We have seen the benefits the scheme has had in Netherfield and while we appreciate that the landlord associations are focusing on the cost to their clients, we have seen that the benefits of the scheme outweigh the costs which are less than those in the Nottingham City scheme.
This scheme is about improving the living conditions in areas identified as in most need of improvement. If the scheme was to be approved, it would not begin until, at the very earliest, summer 2021.
We want to create safer communities for our residents and reduce hardship and inequality and this scheme would help contribute towards that ambition.”