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A controversial policy change from Hull City Council could leave thousands of tenants homeless by triggering rent rises.
Hull City Council have replaced informal improvement procedures with formal notices. This means that if a tenant reports an issue with their property the landlord will automatically face a fee of around £250 regardless of the severity of the issue.
As a result, The Humber Landlords’ Association (HLA) is taking the council all the way to the High Court claiming that the authority ‘went against government advice.’ The HLA also consulted legal experts as well as the Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) and National Landlords’ Association (NLA).
Chairman of the HLA, Danny Gough, has raised concerns that landlords may have to increase rents as a result of extra charges. This could jeopardise lower income tenants.
He said: ‘The HLA is concerned for tenants who risk losing their homes due to this policy change set out in Hull City Council’s proposal. The most concerning aspect is at least sixty-five per cent of landlords in Hull are governed by the banks with mortgages on their properties. Many of these banks are looking for any reason to increase lending rates and to protect their assets. Receiving a formal notice could trigger concern for the banks who can, in-turn recall the loans, forcing landlords to sell their property portfolio, making tenants homeless. Following discussions, Hull City Council will not recognise any other local or national accreditation scheme. The change is unnecessary and it can gravely affect tenants. I want to know why the council would want to put them in such a vulnerable position. You can’t have a local authority going against the rest of the country.’
He concluded: ‘The HLA fully understands that Hull City Council aims to protect tenancies but it already has powers to prosecute rogue landlords and agrees that any landlord failing to manage their property correctly should be dealt with accordingly.’