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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Bristol landlords to take on council over extended licensing scheme

Landlords in Bristol are planning to file a complaint against Bristol City Council regarding the authority's intention to extend the city's selective licensing scheme.

The proposed 'maladministration' complaint will be taken to the Local Government Ombudsman, the Bristol Post reports.

Bristol City Council has already introduced mandatory landlord licensing in Stapelton Road and is expanding the scheme to Eastville and St George.

The scheme requires local landlords to pay £470 per rental property. Homes will then be inspected to make sure they are up to a minimum standard.

The maladministration complaint relates to the council's application to introduce the two new schemes.

The landlords argue that the application was based on 'error-filled' data and an 'inaccurate' survey.

One landlord, Anne Pargeter, has complained that the council's consultation claimed Eastville and St George are both in the lowest 10% of deprived areas in the city.

She says that figures on the council's own website show the areas much higher up the list than the consultation claimed.

The Bristol landlords have missed the deadline for a judicial review and so are now taking their complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

The ombudsman will not have the power to overturn the scheme but will be able to force the council to compensate the landlords – essentially return the licence fee – if the complaint is upheld.

"Maladministration is actually an easier route to go down than judicial review, because you can take it to the ombudsman," Paul Routledge, one of the campaigning landlords, told the Bristol Post.

He says that once one landlord gets their £470 back, the precedent will be set for the other 2,000+ landlords in the affected areas to get their 'perfunctory' licensing fee back.

The campaign in Bristol is taking inspiration from a nearby movement focusing on licensing in Weston-super-Mare, known as the Somerset Property Network. The group's lobbying resulted in North Somerset County Council dropping its plans for a selective licensing scheme. 

The next move for the campaigners is to meet the city's housing representative, Paul Smith, to discuss their concerns.

In August, a Bristol councillor called for more selective licensing to be introduced in the city.

Carla Denyer cited the Easton scheme, claiming it had been responsible for improving 700 rental properties and resolving 200 serious hazards.

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    The Council Tax is already extremely expensive. Reduce the council tax!!
    "Landlords" are not like the landlords two hundreds years ago, most of the landlords
    are middle class working families and looking for the safe haven for their pension fund.
    Enough is enough.

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    Totally agree Jeanne. My properties are up to date and sound and my tenants enjoy living there. I also have a waiting list for people wanting to move in! Ok I agree with some kind of licence but to licence property and not the Landlord is a joke and surely must be illegal. I'll pay one licence fee but I have 11 flats and refuse to pay per property if ever it gets to my area. Let's face it it's purely a tax nothing to do with quality. You will still get the rogue Landlords.

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