Landlords unhappy with council’s new tough stance

The local authority of a Lancashire seaside resort is on a mission to root out rogue landlords and hit them hard.

Blackpool Council believe they have more than their fair share of landlords giving their tenants a bad deal and are determined to force private landlords into upgrading their properties. However, not everyone is happy with the council’s tough stance including some landlords who claim the Selective Licensing Scheme, which costs them around £1,000 per property, is nothing more than a bid to raise cash. The great majority of the town’s landlords comply with all regulatory requirements and regard property insurance as a necessity. It is true that since the policy began earlier this year, ten properties, described as “dangerous and filthy”, have been shut down, but it is only a small fraction of the number of residential lets in the town. Council chiefs claim rogue landlords are finally being brought to book for allowing undesirable people to rent cheap accommodation with no questions asked. The situation has seen some law-abiding landlords claiming they are being made to pay for the errors of others.

John Clarke, owner of Metcalf Estate Agents, which manages 400 units in Blackpool, says Selective Licensing isn’t necessary. He said: “It is a very emotive subject among landlords because there is just no need for Selective Licensing – the council already had the power to do what it wanted. In my opinion the only reason it was brought in was to generate new funds which would keep council officials in jobs. The council is correct in that there are rogue landlords in Blackpool and they need to be targeted. But unfortunately this scheme won’t work with the majority of them.”

Some private landlords feel the council are using this as a device to threaten landlords into a position where they feel they no longer want to invest in Blackpool. They also believe the council are wrong to put the majority of the town’s anti-social behaviour problems down to the private rented sector. The local authority wants to clamp down on bad behaviour and believe private landlords should take responsibility for who they rent their property

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