Oldham landlords are furious with their council as it is going to introduce a licence fee on each of their properties which are privately rented, within certain areas.
According to the council, private landlords that have properties in “problem areas”, have to pay £490 per property for a five-year licence. Those who do not comply may face a fine of up to £5,000.
The council’s reasoning is that by introducing the scheme within certain ‘blacklisted’ areas, it will improve property management and reduce anti social tenant behaviour.
The licence fee will be relevant for 2,250 properties and was started in April in St. Mary’s; this was then rolled out across Waterhead in July. From September the Hollinwood and Primrose Bank areas will also be covered by the scheme.
One landlord, Zahoor Ahmed, who has several properties in Oldham is extremely disgruntled by the council’s scheme and feels that they are being unfairly treated. He will be presenting a petition signed by 150 landlords to the council.
Ahmed said: “Last year I was letting out a property and the tenant left without paying six months’ rent. Why aren’t they protecting landlords? This is unfair on a lot of people.”
Another landlord that has four properties feels that it would be fairer to landlords, if the fee had spread payments rather than just one lump sum.
He said: “We’re renting properties out for £400 a month, and that’s if we get paid regularly. Sometimes tenants don’t pay their rent on time. Maybe we’d be happy to pay the licensing fee if it protected our benefits.”
A council spokesman said: “Many rented properties fail to meet the required standards, which can have a terrible impact on tenants. This scheme aims to ensure private landlords meet satisfactory standards. Landlords need to show basic safety checks have been carried out and they have appropriate management arrangements. All the money that comes in is put straight back into the scheme.”
Councillor Dave Hibbert, cabinet member for housing, said: “The vast majority of private landlords who rent out properties in the borough operate within the law, but there are some who fail to provide housing of a decent standard.
“A scheme of this nature will send out a message to rogue landlords that if you want to rent out a property in Oldham it has to be of a good standard.”
Hayley Cowburn of PIMS, said: “We know that licence schemes will be backed by the DCLG; however it is ridiculous that in areas of deprivation, where anti social behaviour is endemic that landlords end up being targeted to pay for society’s ills.”
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