Luton consults on HMO and selective licensing after years of errors and fierce opposition

Luton is making yet another bid to introduce licensing schemes in the town following previous failed attempts ©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - Luton consults on HMO and selective licensing after years of errors and fierce opposition | LandlordZONE.

Luton consults on HMO and selective licensing after years of errors and fierce opposition

Luton is making yet another bid to introduce licensing schemes in the town following previous failed attempts over the past few years.

The council has been thwarted by landlords and letting agents as well as its own ineptitude but has now launched a 12-week consultation for an additional licensing scheme to cover all HMOs in the town and a selective licensing scheme that would cover all privately rented properties within South ward.

Luton tried to introduce a scheme in April 2018, faced significant local opposition and then went silent about its plans until December 2019 when its executive committee rubber stamped them.

But a group of agents, landlords and concerned residents got together and formed Luton Landlords and Letting Agents Ltd, whose solicitor launched a legal challenge, , and the scheme was put on hold.

There are about 4,576 HMOs in Luton which have prompted about 221 complaints every year since August 2018 when the previous additional licensing scheme ended, mainly about overcrowding, disrepair and inadequate fire precautions.

Hazards

The council says there are 572 private rented properties in South ward with serious Category 1 hazards.

Under the proposals, application fees for an HMO with up to three bedrooms would be £488 with an extra charge of £122 for each additional bedroom.

For the selective licensing scheme, the standard application fee would be £488 per property, regardless of its size. A £122 discount would apply for both if a property has an EPC rating of band C or above.

Councillor Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing (pictured), says: “The council is committed to good quality, safe, warm, affordable homes and where this is not the case, these schemes will act as a force to improve standards for the benefit of all residents in the town.”

©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - Luton consults on HMO and selective licensing after years of errors and fierce opposition | LandlordZONE.

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MP says landlords, tenants and government must ‘shoulder cost’ of rent arrears

Conservative MP Nigel Mills has suggested that the burden of shouldering spiralling rent debt should be shared ©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - MP says landlords, tenants and government must ‘shoulder cost’ of rent arrears | LandlordZONE.

MP says landlords, tenants and government must ‘shoulder cost’ of rent arrears

Conservative MP Nigel Mills has suggested that the burden of shouldering spiralling rent debt should be shared three ways between tenants, landlords and the government.

A member of the Work and Pensions Committee, Mills (pictured main image, bottom right) believes tenants can’t be expected to clear their debts without help, which would end up with them being evicted, losing their deposit and struggling to get another tenancy. Instead, landlords could agree to waive a third of the arrears, tenants would pay back a third and the tax payer would pay a third.

“The government should step in and say it’s nobody’s fault,” says Mills. “Tenants will need to pay some of their debt, but in return a landlord could offer a new one-year lease so the tenancy can be sustained and the arrears could be cleared over a decent period, in return for a taxpayer contribution. Those proportions could be moved up or down but that seems to be a realistic model.”

He made the suggestion while taking part in an NRLA webinar on tackling Covid-related rent arrears along with Yvonne Fovargue, Labour chair of the All-Party Group for Debt and Personal Finance, and Chris Norris, policy director at the

Arrears triple

Government data shows that in England, since the start of lockdown measures last March, the proportion of private sector tenants in rent arrears has tripled.

Norris says that landlords are not asking the government to bail people out, but for enough support to let people help themselves. He adds: “If we can continue to work together towards that kind of targeted financial package and solution we all want to find, there’s an awful lot that can be done to work our way out of this.”

The NRLA will now submit a report based on the webinar to the Chancellor, the Housing Secretary and the Prime Minister’s Office.

©1999 - Present | Parkmatic Publications Ltd. All rights reserved | LandlordZONE® - MP says landlords, tenants and government must ‘shoulder cost’ of rent arrears | LandlordZONE.

Source : Landlord Zone More   

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