Agent speaks out against possible ‘money making’ licensing scheme

29 December 2020 | Renting

Agent speaks out against possible ‘money making’ licensing scheme

A lettings agent has spoken out at a local council landlord licensing scheme, suggesting it might just be nothing more than a revenue-raising exercise. 

A selective licensing scheme run by Southend council, and now out for formal consultation, asks private landlords to pay a fee costing at least £668 per property for five years.

But now Thomas Neale, from Amos Estates letting agency, has told the local press that he is uncertain of the benefits of such a scheme – especially the council’s justification of it as a means off improving the quality of rental property. 

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He tells the local Echo News website: “I can see why it has been discussed and the move is to improve quality of rented property. My reservation is that there is going to be a cost implication to landlords and the government have been driving quality up with a number of improvements already.”

“This could be a money making exercising – it could turn out to be very expensive quickly. I just wonder if this is a step that is perhaps unnecessary I would hate to think landlords would leave the market as it is getting a bit too expensive.”

As usual in such cases the council says the licensing operation would create better facilities and better managed homes, and resolve alleged anti-social activity.

A council spokesman says: “Delivering a selective licensing scheme that drives up the quality of housing in Southend and protects tenants is a key priority for us.

“Despite the difficult circumstances, I am pleased that we are still able to progress this work which is important to the town. In order to take this forward, we really need people involved in the private rental sector to help us by completing this survey, whether it be online, on paper or over the phone.”

The consultation closes on January 11.

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.