Landlord licences: think again

Letters from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter
Letters from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter
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I am a citizen of the EU. I rent a house in Wisbech. My landlord tells me my rent goes up £20 a month to pay for the new ‘selective licence’. He does the same thing with all tenants – 10 houses, rent goes up.

He is a good landlord, houses are nice. He says the council will charge him this money so he will charge us. It is OK.

My rent is low, I pay £450 for a two bedroom house. But why is the council charging this to my landord? He rents only to families – not many people in one house. Please council , think again. It is not fair to tenant or landlord.

Agnes Kriuska,

Wisbech.

What a joke

I have just read the article ‘Council split on landlords plan’ in the Citizen (April 6). What a joke this proposal is and how unnecessary. Of course rents will go up! It’s a lot of money to suddenly charge a landlord. They will, no doubt, pass it on to the tenants.

It’s the bad landlords putting too many people in their houses who should be punished, not the ‘normal’ landlord who looks after their properties.

My elderly mother and I live in a terrace and had eight people living in a two bedroom house next door to us for two years. The landlord was charging £60 per person per week – that’s £480 a week.

A same-sized house the other side of us is rented to a family and they pay £125 a week.

I can see the attraction for landlords with no moral backbone. They do not feel any guilt in exploiting people, their tenants and the neighbours.

The comings and goings next door of eight people working different shifts was a nightmare. Cooking and using the noisy power shower at all hours, too. At the weekends they had girlfriends and boyfriends there ’til all hours.

Their bins overflowed and stank in summer months. We couldn’t use the garden. Mum complained to the council.

They said there was nothing they could do. The landlord didn’t have a licence. There just shouldn’t be that many people (adults at that) living in a small house – it was not built for that.

The other side, where the family live, are perfect neighbours and their landlord is perfect, too. He does repairs, looks after the tenants and they appreciate him and look after the house as if it’s their own.

He has told me he ‘makes’ net about £1,500 a year from this house and paying this £575 selective licensing will break him. He said he is seriously thinking about selling the house. Where will that young family go then and what kind of landlord will buy the house?

The tenants of the overcrowded house treated it as a doss hole. It was left in a state. Why should the good landlords pay for the bad?

I laughed at Michael Bucknor’s comment about the weekly cost of this licence being £2.20 – an average cup of coffee. What on earth has that got to do with anything and wherever is he buying his coffee?

Would he like to be suddenly presented with a bill for £575 to pay his coffee bill in advance for the next five years?

The council must drive these bad landlords out of town using other revenue. The good, law-abiding, landlords and tenants must not pay for it.

I notice that Fenland’s other towns aren’t being subject to this licence.

Is Fenland District Council showing favouritism to its home town, March? Has it even been proven to work in other local authority areas?

Selective licensing won’t solve anything. The council is penalising the wrong people.

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Lot of money

Some landlords will be looking at paying thousands of pounds just for the licences – £575 for each property they rent out, plus on top of this having to get an electrical safety report carried out along with installing carbon monoxide alarms in every room with a solid fuel or gas appliance.

This all adds up to a lot of money a landlord has to find in a very short time, plus having to make sure no mould or damp exists in the property. Legislation already exists to deal with bad landlords and housing, so it looks like Fenland wants landlords to finance their own prosecutions.

How many times have FDC prosecuted a housing association for poor/unfit housing? None.

FDC are missing an opportunity. They should not be alienating tenants and landlords, but working with them to improve standards. Any good landlord would be happy to register and happy to be helped with advice and recommendations. Then you would be able to concentrate on the other landlords in any way you see fit.

If it’s then decided licensing is the only way forward you could reward the good honest landlords with a greatly reduced fee.

If people think landlords are rich then, in most cases, they are wrong. Anyone can build a property portfolio with very little capital outlay, using buy-to-let mortgages. The rental income covers the mortgage. The landlord’s wealth is all tied up in the properties.

Mr G Davies,

Wisbech.