Registration for a new licensing scheme for landlords in Nottingham has now been open for a month, but, with less than 24 hours to go, there are many properties still to register.
Set to come into effect 1st August, the scheme plans to cover 32,000 private rented homes in the region. This will affect 91% of the landlords in the city, and it is considered to be the second largest scheme in the UK, outside of London.
Landlords within the designated areas of Nottingham are required to register, at a cost. For unaccredited landlords, the fee is £780 per property, whereas for those who are accredited, this cost is reduced to £480. The licence will last five years, and is available to pay in two parts.
This applies to landlords with properties in Arboretum, Bestwood, Bulwell, Bulwell Forest, Basford, Bridge, Clifton North, Clifton South, Dales, Dunkirk and Lenton, Leen Valley, Mapperley, Radford and Park, Sherwood, St Ann’s, Wollaton East and Lenton Abbey.
There will be a civil penalty for those who fail to comply of up to £30,000. Alternatively, there is the possibility of prosecution on summary conviction, which could result in an unlimited maximum fine. Non-compliance may also lead to a ban from being allowed to hold licence in the future.
With less than 24 hours remaining for landlords to register their properties, many are expected to get their applications submitted by the end of today. However, those with larger portfolios are being given an extension.
Jane Urquhart, Councillor for Housing and Planning in Nottingham, was interviewed on BBC Radio Nottingham this morning, in which she stated that, by yesterday afternoon, about five and a half thousand properties have been registered so far.
The start-up of a recent petition expresses the discontent of some landlords in the area. This petition calls for signatures in order to gain the attention of the Government, to ask it to review Nottingham City Council’s Selective Licensing Scheme. So far, more than 1,700 people have pledged their signature. However, it does require 10,000 signatures to receive a response from the Government.
Protest Against Introduction of New Landlord Licencing Scheme in Nottingham
David Thomas, director of Liberty Gate, a letting agent based in the Lace Market, created the petition, which states: “We call on the Government to carry out a review of Nottingham City Councils Selective Licensing Scheme.
We believe areas of Nottingham have been unfairly targeted and included in the Licensing Scheme, which do not meet the government guidance conditions for Selective Licensing.
“Particular areas such as the Park Estate, Mapperley Park, Wilford and the City Centre are examples of areas we believe have been wrongly included. They include modern apartment developments, affluent residential suburbs and luxury homes, which do not meet any of the conditions for selective licensing.
“We urge the Government to review the proposed scheme and the areas selected to ensure they do meet the Governments conditions for Selective Licensing before the scheme is allowed to commence.”
With today being the final day to register, either the Council will see a massive surge in last minute applicants, or it will have to face the result of the majority of Nottingham landlords having not joined the scheme.
David Thomas, has given comment to Nottingham Post: “This (new licensing scheme) is ruining the private rented sector in Nottingham.
“The council has not informed one single landlord directly. It is an absolute shambles. To get all these properties done in one month was impossible from the start.
“They are lucky they have 3,140. It can take weeks to get one application through and I have 120 I need to submit [on behalf of landlord clients].
“Rent will go up immediately – £25 a month to recover it over the long term. It is an expense that landlords never factored in and they need to pay the mortgage.
“Some landlords are having to pay for 50 properties – and the people who are feeling the pain are the tenants.”
Thomas reports that the “majority” of landlords are planning to put rents up, while around a quarter are selling up.
“There will be more people who are homeless,” he added. “The only ones who are winning are the council by raising £20m from this.”
Mike Siebert, chair of Nottingham Park Residents Association, believes that the licensing scheme will offer Nottingham City Council “more control over the absentee landlords”, but ultimately agrees that “it is just a way of making money for the council”.
He commented: “It backfires if rents go up. It is more expensive to rent than get a mortgage so it will be worse for them. If everyone puts up the price of rent what is it achieving?”