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Tory MP says council licensing “just a charge on good landlords”

A Conservative MP is weighing in, in support of landlords arguing against a £700 licensing fee by the local council. 

James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, says: “Southend Council already has the powers to tackle rogue landlords, and I am afraid this proposal is just a tax on the town’s good landlords. 

“It will disincentivise new landlords from coming to the marketplace and give a reason for existing landlords to get out of the sector.


“This will lead to a reduction in the number of properties available to rent in Southend and in turn push up rent prices for residents.

"I am sure the council’s intentions are good, but this proposal will just drive the very behaviours they are hoping to avoid.”

His comments to the Southend Echo come after a dispute between the council and local landlords body, SEAL. 

Southend council wants landlords to pay a £700 per property selective licence fee but in its consultation it asks what SEAL believes are leading questions.



Judith Codarin, SEAL secretary, says: “There were questions with basically one answer like would you like to improve your home and would you like less antisocial behaviour? There is only one answer to questions like that. No one is going to say they want worse housing and more antisocial behaviour.

“We’ve tried to move forward on this but the way they have done it is totally political. Everyone wants these things but the way it is being pushed through is very inappropriate timing when we are all trying to catch up with issues around the pandemic.”

Southend Council is a run by a Labour-led coalition.

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    Gosh! An MP supporting landlords?

    Maybe there are votes in that after all?

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    Well done to this MP. Let's hope this is the start of a more balanced view coming from Parliament. Time will tell!!

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    Gosh we are on a roll one MP out of 650 we are so fortunate to be so well represented.
    So a Council wants to charge £700. for a Selective License, whats the big deal although above National average, why is this an issue when there is not a murmur about the Additional License Fee £1100 to £1350. or the Mandatory license Fee which is same amount in many London boroughs. I think there should be a maximum charge set by Government for whole of UK to stop Local Authorities Profiteering. Property in London is up to be 3 times more expensive than other parts of UK. However the return Pound for Pound is 1/3 of other parts for sure, just set a national maximum of £700. for any Property License.

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    • 24 February 2021 11:21 AM

    NLRA can close down now!
    Job done.

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    I have 7 coming due this year again in for a hard time & costs, all done twice before some redone 3 times and one will be 4th time all full Fees, surely it should be much less for renewal, maybe half or something ?, considering most haven't done any.


    Glasgow is around £1950 for the first 3 years and about £950 for subsequent 3 year periods, but payable for every property with more than 2 unrelated adults, irrespective of how large the property is.

    Initial costs for fire doors, mains operated interconnected alarms etc. are around £5000 per property.

    On the upside, rents rose by about 30% in 2004 when the new HMO licence schemes came in, kept rising steadily until December 2017 when a further 30% hike followed the new legislation outlawing fixed term tenancies and banning most reasons for the landlord to get rid of pests.

    Not all bad news as one flat, rented out for£600 per month in 2003 now gets £2100.

    Tenants always pay for extra cost imposed on rental properties.

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    Excellent news that at last an MP has stuck their head above the parapet. More please!
    Let's be brutally honest.... Licencing is not about improving standards. There is already enough formal legal compliance should a local authority wish to punish (rightly) dodgy Landlords. Licencing is plain and simply racketeering and solely about creating revenue.
    I suggest the council clean up the big business of social housing as that's where the majority of problems lie, and standards are lowest.
    Alternatively, if councils are struggling to make the necessary revenue then maybe look at some of the ridiculously high 6 figure wages they pay certain staff.

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    I think you will find that these charges just end up being an additional cost being passed on to the tenant so rents go up!


    That's why rents have more than trebled since 2003.

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    £1950. an extraordinary amount for the license Application Fee for 3 years and also whether its a small Flat or a large House this is unjust and totally out of proportion. A kin to c/tax system where by 2 persons living in a property pays the same as 4 /6 or 8 persons its mad. I don't buy the letting figures Robert my friend it must be the exception rather than the rule, knock off £700. to 800. pm and I will have another think about it, according to that I am charging £9'000 pa too little for a Flat in London, it cannot be that much higher in Scotland in the main, must be that gravy train Margaret Thatcher was on about if this is the case and sure to hit the buffers that's not sustainable anyway I look at it.



    The SNP war against Landlords (and by extension, decent tenants ) has led a real shortage of decent properties. I had 17 groups of 4 students chasing one 4 bed flat in June 2019, and only one out of a dozen flats suffered the early termination by tenants last March (allowed in Scotland) when lockdown started, as the others knew they wouldn't get such nice flats again.

    I have another really nice holiday house in a lovely seaside village which easily rents from April to September every year. I used to take a 6 month let for the winter, basically to avoid the Council Tax and keep it heated, but it still gave a family a nice home, albeit for only six months.

    SNP legislation now means I can't set a 6 month limit on a winter let, so I stopped doing a winter let. However I have found that with Christmas and New Year weeks let at peak rates, along with off peak short breaks and weekends, I make more than previously from the six month rental. It also now qualifies for tax advantages and council tax exemption as a furnished holiday let. Net result is I am about £3000 per annum better off, would qualify for only 10% CGT if I sold it, and the local market has lost a fantastic value winter 6 month rental opportunity.

    Many of the former high quality student flats in Edinburgh are no longer rented to students as the short term summer rentals couldn't be booked up in advance until students deigned to give the minimum 4 weeks notice.

    Purpose built student ghettos charge £500 plus per room and tend to be in more dodgy further out areas, so that sets expectations for rents for the better situated normal 4 bed properties. In addition, local residents want councils to limit the number of HMO licences issued so limiting availability and creating higher demand from the growing numbers of students and other young flat sharers. I don't see anything interfering with this situation in my lifetime.

    These are some of the reasons good properties are in short supply and in high demand making very high yields in Scotland for the best properties. Incidentally the flats yielding £25k per annum would sell for between £250k to £350k maximum, so yielding around 8 to 10% gross. I never paid over half this amount, with many of my flats being well under a quarter of that 30 to 40 years ago, so I could cope with a serious step change but really can't see it happening in Scotland.

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    Selective licensing is just a way for Councils to fund their Housing Departments. They are so short of cash that they need the fee in order to do what they already have the power to do, but funded by LLs, who incidentally pass the costs straight on to the tenants!

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    Council are short of funds because they are so incompetent pay themselves too much, waste money and bend over backwards to finance Benefit milkers. Its not the job of private LL's to fund Housing Departments we have to fund and run our own business. I have never increased rents because HMO's were imposed on me ever since it was introduced in 2006. The Tenants can't automatically pay more by magic just because Council decide to rip-off LL's as said on here many times they already had all the powers they ever needed to control or cripple LL's as far back as 1992, so Licensing was never needed its a money grab. The reality is you can't pass on costs to a third party that can't afford it.


    I have found enough tenants who can and will afford high rents for the best properties due to the imbalance of supply and demand. There are plenty of cheaper properties in the more dodgy areas but I wouldn't touch them or the kind of tenants that are prepared to accept them.

    My best properties have had zero voids in around 20 years and no property has been empty for more than two or three weeks, with that time being much shorter in recent years since the new SNP legislation.

    Any loony lefty who thinks they could help English tenants should look at Sweden, Ireland and Scotland and see what happens in real life when they interfere with a balanced market.

  • Mohammad Kamran  Iqbal

    Just another tax on landlords for no reason.


    No. A tax on tenants!


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