Wisbech council gives mixed reaction to landlord licence
Plans to introduce a licensing scheme for landlords in Wisbech has received a mixed reaction.
Fenland District Council hopes to stamp out rogue private landlords by introducing a licence for the 2,400 properties in the town.
But the proposal was both welcomed and opposed by some quarters of Wisbech Town Council.
Cllr Steve Tierney told the council chamber that the proposal would “exacerbate problems dramatically”.
He said that some landlords were considering selling up or increasing the cost of rent as a result of this.
Cllr Tierney added that a lot of landlords were using properties to save for their retirement and that social housing authorities are the “biggest problem” .
He said: “This is a very poor way of treating the majority of decent landlords.
“A lot say the police and council have powers to tackle these problems already.
“A lot of people view this as a money-making scheme.”
But the plan is being supported by Michael Bucknor, who says currently the community is paying the price for the lack of regulation.
He told the meeting that some landlords do not check who is living in their properties and tenants have no idea of their responsibilities.
Cllr Bucknor said: “It is accepted that businesses that sell alcohol must be licensed because of the impact on the whole community. Taxi drivers have to pay for their licenses.
“Why shouldn’t landlords pay for theirs? The fee works out to be around £2.20 a week – the cost of an average cup of coffee.
“Regulation is the price we pay to live in a safe, stable and secure country.”
Cllr Viv MacRae questioned how the council would identify the rogue landlords.
She said: “I think what you are doing is penalising the diligent landords.”
FDC head of housing Dan Horn went along to the meeting and stated that the scheme would not be generating a profit for the council.
But it would pay for extra “foot soldiers” to carry out regulation activities.