Many landlords will now have to fork out £600 for a licence to rent out a property in Peterborough after a discounted scheme was scrapped.
Previously, under its new selective licensing scheme, Peterborough City Council allowed landlords who are members of a nationally accredited landlord/letting agent association to pay £50 per property for a five-year licence.
However, the council said that all landlords will now have to pay the standard £600 fee to rent out new properties as that is how much it costs to process and issue a licence.
But the authority insists forcing new landlords to pay hundreds of pounds will not increase rental levels.
Rob Hill, assistant director for communities and safety, said: “The introduction of selective licensing has allowed the council to take a more active role in ensuring that all private tenants are able to live in housing that is safe and appropriately managed.
“This will improve the quality of life for everyone in these areas by ensuring consistently high standards of privately rented accommodation.
“Over the past 12 months we have not seen a difference in rental levels between landlords who have paid either the £50 or £600 fee.
“In addition, the licence fee is tax deductible and therefore we expect little impact on rental levels.”
Selective licensing began last year, forcing landlords in nine wards - Central, North, East, Park, Fletton, Bretton North, Stanground Central, Walton and Orton Longueville - to sign up for a licence.
The scheme, which forces landlords to meet certain safety standards, has had an immediate effect, with more than 900 gas safety certificates issued in the month before the selective licensing deadline, while several landlords have also been successfully prosecuted for not holding a licence.
Asked if charging all landlords £600 could lead to a rise in homelessness, Mr Hill said: “We don’t believe that this change will impact on homelessness levels as we are still receiving new applications for the scheme and licences are only required for certain areas of the city.
“In addition, the council is working on a range of initiatives to increase the number of properties in the city to alleviate the current homelessness rates.”
Richard Lambert, CEO at the National Landlords Association, said: “The NLA was not aware the council had made this decision, or was considering doing so, and we’re naturally disappointed because we pushed very hard to make sure that accredited landlords, who are already doing the right thing, should benefit from a discount.”