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Hackney buy to let investors claim to have been given barely any information about an imminent pilot scheme under which they are set to be charged £500 to licence any buy to let properties.
Next month the council plans to launch a ‘selected landlord licence’ in Stoke Newington, Cazenove and Brownswood. These areas were selected as the council found that 15 per cent of the 4700 privately rented homes in the area have severe problems ranging from damp and mould to dangerous boilers, exposed wiring and vermin infestations.
Under the imminent licensing scheme, anyone renting a property will need to improve the home and pay a £500 fee to cover the licence. However, many landlords say that they do not know which measures need to be taken before the legislation comes in. Any landlords who do not get the licence will face a penalty as well as a prosecution which leads to a fine. Otherwise, they will be forced to pay a year’s rent.
Hackney Council said the website and application process is due to go live at the end of September. All landlords and letting agents will be contacted. A council spokesperson also said there would be a ‘reasonable’ grace period for landlords to get licensed before action is initiated.
Local landlord Vishal Vora expressed his concern to the Hackney Gazette. He said: ‘I found out about it by chance really, from an old neighbour. Her agency contacted her saying it was coming in but that even they didn’t have any information. The website still isn’t live. It seems there was a public consultation while I was living there, but I didn’t hear about it. And the outcome was overwhelmingly negative about the plans, but the council still proceeded.’
He continued: ‘I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m a model landlord but my tenants are happy and anything they need, I do. There are rogue landlords and there needs to be a mechanism to catch them, but to us it just feels they are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. A lot of landlords are worried.’