Southampton City Council are set to decide on plans to impose compulsory licensing for all Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) within the city.

Over 6,500 HMO’s are currently registered within the city limits however only 392 are licensed; and the council are reported to have a significant problem with rogue landlords.

If councillors decide on a public consultation, landlords, tenants and letting agents may get the opportunity to lobby against the idea and will be able to put their views across regarding the nature and scope of the proposed HMO licensing scheme.

However the scheme is widely tipped to go ahead regardless and the £500 licensing fee that will apply to each individual property will quickly become a reality for HMO landlords in the city.

A Southampton Council spokesman commented, “Although the council recognises that there are many good landlords, this sector, concentrated in the north and central areas of the city, has some significant problems. Research suggests that within the 6,500 properties affected, there is evidence of unsatisfactory management, disrepair, inadequate safety standards and community harm.”

Roger Bell of the Southern Landlords Association (SLA) has a different viewpoint though and considers the proposed licensing fee ‘unjustified’. He also believes that the cost will be passed on to tenants in the form of rent increases, and recently said, “The cost will be passed on to those least able to pay it. These are people due to force of circumstance who are forced to live in HMO’s.”

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