Student landlord hit by £43,000 in licensing fees

Middlesborough Council who issued the charges has defended it by saying each of the 52 flats in Linthorpe Hall 248 are eligible for the fee under their current selective licensing scheme, which began in 2019.

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The five-year scheme applies in the Newport area of the city and is intended to improve standards of accommodation and social and economic conditions.

Different rules for university buildings

Student rentals which are run by educational bodies are exempt from the £800-per-property license fee, however, Middlesborough Council considers Linthorpe Hall 248 to be a privately operated HMO for the purposes of the scheme.

Gareth Stobard, property manager for Linthorpe Property Management Limited, stated that it should be designated as purpose-built student accommodation and objected to the fact that other local student properties of the same size are not required to apply for a license.

Scheme effectiveness is questioned

Some landlords have challenged the impact of the selective licensing scheme and said it has led to empty properties and costs being passed on to tenants.

Because the full fee is payable regardless of when the license is applied for – even though the scheme is due for review in the first half of 2024 – some owners prefer to leave their properties empty for the remaining months.

Selective licensing doesn’t deter rogues

Propertymark is not convinced that licensing delivers the results the UK Government intended in terms of improving housing standards. Rogue landlords and agents that the schemes are created to target often continue to operate under the radar. Landlords and agents who are already compliant pay their licensing fees and fund the administration of the scheme whilst those providing poor housing regularly ignore their legal requirements.

We believe that local authorities should adopt a collaborative approach with letting agents, landlords, professional bodies, and public services to tackle issues within the private rented sector.

This approach recognises and rewards landlords and letting agents who already adhere to good practices and enables local authorities to better target their resources on effective intelligence-led enforcement.

Propertymark will continue to monitor schemes that are put in place and provide feedback to decision-makers. Contact us at [email protected] if you have comments or concerns about schemes in your area.

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Landlord Licensing

We do not believe that selective licensing schemes are an effective way of promoting higher quality accommodation. Find out why we believe this and why a collaborative approach is needed.