The price of a landlords’ licence in Nottingham is set to go up after plans were approved today.
For houses with more than four tenants, landlords in most areas must obtain a Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence.
For ‘less compliant’ landlords, the price of a licence will go up by £810, from £910 for a new licence to £1,720.
‘Standard’ landlords will pay an extra £420 for their HMO licence – up from £910 to £1,330.
Landlords with accreditation will pay an additional £80, up to £990.
Nottingham City Council said the scheme improves the quality of housing in the city and gives tenants increased protection.
Previously, there was a flat fee for HMO licences, but from January next year, those who will pay the most will be those deemed ‘less compliant’, meaning those who are ‘consistently non-compliant or provide a poor application.’
It is the first change in the price of a licence since 2014. As with selective licensing, the council cannot make a profit from the scheme.
A leading Nottingham property expert said the cost will have to be passed on to tenants and would hit those at the bottom of the ladder hardest.
Giles Inman is from East Midland Property Owners, which represents around 600 landlords and 150 agents in the city.
He said: “The cost of it all is just getting silly. We weren’t kept in the loop or given any advance warning. There was just a consultation and we didn’t hear anything back, and then all of a sudden we’re informed that they’re going up. We never expected it to go up by this much.
“From a landlord’s perspective it’s just crazy and it’s come out of the blue.
“It’s just them raking in the cash. They already have the powers to deal with the less-compliant landlords without charging them more for an HMO.
“The costs will be passed on. We’re a business at the end of the day. I know the council thinks we should take the cost ourselves, but no business does that.
“So it will be passed on one way or another, and it’s the tenants on housing benefit and at the bottom of the ladder who will be most impacted by that.”
The revised licence fee will now be made up of two payments – one at application and one when the licence is issued.
Each licence can last up to five years, as long as the conditions of the licence are met and no other offences occur.
Councillor Jane Urquhart is the city council’s portfolio holder for planning and housing, and represents the Wollaton East and Lenton Abbey ward for Labour.
She said: “This scheme, along with others, is a major part of our plans to improve all types of private rented housing in the city.
“We believe something as important as providing decent and safe housing should be monitored and kept in check via a licensing scheme in the same way as taxis, pet shops and some beauty treatments.
“Not only does the scheme help to improve poorer standards of accommodation, it means tenants know what is expected of their landlord in terms of the management of their home.
“It also helps us to tackle rogue and bad landlords by providing a clear set of guidelines which all landlords need to meet, and helps prevent bad landlords cutting corners or ‘undercutting’ good ones, creating a level playing field for all.”