Peterborough landlords ‘cannot afford home repairs’ due to selective licensing

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Peterborough landlords say they cannot afford to carry out home repairs due to the introduction of the selective licensing scheme.

Peterborough City Council has had to step in after some city landlords said they were considering whether they should withdraw from the rental market after being forced to pay for licences.

Selective licensing came into force last year in a bid to tackle rogue landlords, but its introduction was met with dismay from many Peterborough landlords who believe it will impact on the number of city rental properties.

A council report states: “The introduction of selective licensing in September 2016 has seen some private landlords indicate that they cannot afford to carry out necessary repairs to their properties or meet licensing requirements and are considering withdrawing from the market.”

The council is now offering landlords ‘repairs assistance’ which means they can lease their properties to the authority for at least five years.

The council then transfers rent from the tenant to the landlord, but 20 per cent is taken out for management costs and maintenance. This policy will prevent homelessness, the report adds.

Selective licensing covers nine wards - Central, North, East, Park, Fletton, Bretton North, Stanground Central, Walton and Orton Longueville - and around 37 per cent of the city’s private rented stock.

Landlords who are accredited members of a nationally accredited landlord/letting agent association pay £50 per property for a five-year licence.

That fee rises to £600 for non-accredited landlords and £750 for a house of multiple occupation.

Selective licensing is strongly advocated by MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson, but many landlords are against it.

Some have previously told the Peterborough Telegraph that new selective licensing rules governing how many adults and children can sleep in a room could see families evicted and made homeless.

However, the council said room size conditions would not be imposed under existing tenancies unless the property was “seriously overcrowded.”

In January, the PT reported that landlords who had failed to secure a licence before the December 2016 deadline were being given a final chance to sign up before being taken to court.

The council said that more than 900 gas safety certificates were issued in the month before the selective licensing deadline, suggesting that many properties were without one despite it being a legal requirement.

The report can be viewed on the council’s website.

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