VIDEO: Landlord licensing should be introduced across Peterborough - shadow housing minister
The licensing of landlords should be introduced for the whole of Peterborough, according to the shadow housing minister.
Labour MP John Healey, who introduced the legislation when he was housing minister, said selective licensing helps drag out rogue landlords and uncovers unpaid tax.
Selective licensing was introduced by Peterborough City Council last year. It covers nine wards - Central, North, East, Park, Fletton, Bretton North, Stanground Central, Walton and Orton Longueville - and around one-third 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.
Mr Healey said a city wide scheme was better, but that the Government would block it.
On selective licensing he said: “It’s demonstrated in many other areas to work. It drives out some of the rogues, but also interestingly, uncovers unpaid tax. So there are a lot of side benefits beyond generally raising the standards of the homes people live in.”
Mr Healey was at Cross Keys Homes’ offices in Shrewsbury Avenue, Woodston, alongside MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya and Labour’s council group leader Cllr Ed Murphy.
Cllr Murphy said: “I will be asking for selective licensing to be city wide. If a house is in Barnack, or Bretton, it should be part of the same scheme as a house in Central ward.”
Ms Onasanya said she had concerns that selective licensing was not being enforced, and that landlords were putting up rent to cover the costs of needing a licence.
She added: “I actually met with a gentleman on Saturday in the centre of Peterborough because we do street stalls - I’m there every other week meeting with the public - and he’s 22 and he owns five properties because his parents are quite wealthy.
“And he was telling me he has never been checked at all. He said ‘all that we would do as landlords is talk to each other and work out how we can make that money back’.
“So I think there needs to be more work done. There’s not one solution to fix this issue.”
The Labour politicians were also asked about growth in villages around Peterborough, with Eye set for further expansion and plans for 2,500 homes north of Castor and Ailsworth.
Ms Onasanya said: “Everyone needs somewhere decent to live, but do we have the infrastructure to support it?
“These villages that may feel overburdened, or overloaded, it’s not sufficient just to put houses in an area if you haven’t looked at the roads. And not just looking at the roads but the schools.
“Do we have the infrastructure there to make this community remain bound together, but also that people can join it and it not feel so pressurised, because actually one single road going into a village that you’ve just put another 500 people in, there will be a problem.
“So we need to make sure there’s a balance across the board.”
Mr Healey said the previous Labour government invested significantly more on building new homes than the Government did last year.
He added that Labour would offer new homes to local people before anyone else.