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NLA Want HMO License Fee Refunds For Landlords

NLA Want HMO License Fee Refunds For Landlords

HMO landlords Wrongly Charged Licensing Fees By Local Authorities

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has demanded that landlords affected by the outcomes from three specific judgments involving English local authorities and HMO landlords.

The NLA have written to all local authorities in England asking them to contact any affected HMO landlords, informing them of their right to the appropriate refunds and providing details of how they may make a claim, after recent court judgements clarified some issues surrounding the mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and how local authorities determine HMO licensing fees.

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Government Funding To Boost Shared Tenancies For Homeless

Government Funding To Boost Shared Tenancies For Homeless

£1 million Government funding boosts rental options for single homeless people

This week, Communities Minister Don Foster announced a cash boost of up to £1 Million (GBP) to support single homeless people providing access to shared tenancies within the UK private rental sector.

The funding is intended to help homeless people to find a safe and secure home in shared accommodation or Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) in private rented sector (PRS) properties.

Mr Foster allocated up to £800,000 (GBP) for homelessness charity Crisis to fund schemes to set up new shared tenancies for single homeless people within the UK’s private rented sector.

The minister also announced a further £230,000 (GBP) for the charity to continue its Private Rented Sector Access Programme, which works with local landlords to help vulnerable people find the homes they need in privately rented accommodation.

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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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Thousands of landlords with rental properties in Wales will be forced to sign up for a new Buy-To-Let licensing scheme before they can rent out a home in the region.

The proposal is included in a housing white paper launched by the Labour-controlled Welsh Assembly Government and applies to every landlord letting a rental property within the Wales region, regardless of where they live in the world.

Buy-To-Let (BTL) and House In Multiple Occupation (HMO) landlords will have to show they are ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence and must not rent out a property until they have successfully registered.

Once registered, the landlord must follow a code of practice aimed at improving tenant living standards.

Housing minister Huw Lewis said: “This is about much more than putting a roof over someone’s head. Housing issues affects people’s health and wellbeing and their ability to find and keep a job. For children, it is the foundation for the rest of their lives. Housing is fundamental to delivering many of our goals as a progressive government. This paper reflects our strong commitment to equality and social justice and our desire to do all we can to help people to meet their housing needs. We will be ambitious, innovative and collaborative to deliver real change to help reduce poverty, tackle the inequalities that exist between some of our communities, increase skills and jobs, tackle climate change and help improve health and well-being.”

The code of practice will also be applied to all property lettings and management agents across Wales.

The Government white paper states “Some people have to endure poor conditions, insecurity and, sometimes, threats of eviction. The latter, combined with the lack of other options, means that many people, often vulnerable people, put up with the questionable practices of some landlords and lettings and management agents. Accreditation will secure full registration status, which is effectively a licence to operate as a private landlord in Wales. Failure to do so could result in penalties or other sanctions, proportionate to the failings in compliance. Codes of practice will be developed for landlords and agents.”

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