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Newcastle City Council are proposing a new licensing policy which would require buy to let property investors to pay up to £750 per property.
However, landlords in Newcastle have branded the scheme as ‘a sledgehammer to crack a nut’ and are planning to oppose it.
More than a hundred landlords have held a meeting to discuss opposition to the scheme, saying it would penalise good landlords and raise rents.
Newcastle City Council said it would improve accommodation and local neighbourhoods and reduce anti-social behaviour.
However, the scheme will affect as many as 19,000 rental properties, and landlords feel that the action over the top.
Landlord Bruce Haagensen said the council’s evidence showed only a small number of landlords were ‘not doing things correctly’, and that the new scheme would penalise those that were.
He said: ‘Even if you say 10 per cent are bad that still leaves 17,000 who are good and are being forced to pay money for a licence that really isn’t relevant to them and is ultimately going to push rents up for tenants.’
Newcastle City Council have countered that they receive about 1,200 complaints a year concerning private accommodation, from the 24,000 Newcastle homes that are privately let in the city. Landlords can already be fined for ignoring certain responsibilities.
Housing team leader Paula Davis said there were an ‘awful lot of very vulnerable tenants’ in the city.
She said: ‘Old people, young people, people who have migrated into the city and maybe don’t speak English as a first language – and they just wouldn’t know who to complain to.’
The scheme would require landlords to meet a number of conditions and pay a fee to obtain a licence which would last for five years, or one year for landlords with a history of poor compliance, showing their property met certain standards.