Landlord licence schemes are a ‘postcode lottery’
Landlord licenses schemes are a “postcode lottery” according to new analysis that found the cost of a new licence ranges from just £55 to as much as £1,150.
The research by Direct Line for Business found a huge disparity in the cost of licences among the six local authorities in England that have introduced the scheme.
The research, gathered from freedom of information requests to English local authorities and Welsh governments, found the average landlord licence across the UK costs £591. Yet there were marked differences in the cost even in nearby cities.
In Liverpool, the cost of a licence for a first property is £412, yet a licence is 51% more expensive in Salford, setting a landlord back £625.
On average, each council with a scheme in place raised £144,629 from landlord licence schemes in 2017.
But Direct Line found Liverpool City Council received more than £4m in a year from additional landlord licensing schemes.
The research also showed a rise in the cost of additional or selective landlord licensing schemes over the past few years.
In just three years the cost of a licence in the London Borough of Newham increased by 150%, from £500 in 2014/15 to £1,250 in 2017/18.
Local authorities across the UK recorded an average 5,069 licensing offences in 2017, an increase of 46% since 2016, Direct Line said.
But, while failing to comply with a scheme could result in prosecution and a civil penalty of up to £30,000, the average fine was just £926 in 2017.
Matt Boatwright, head of Direct Line for Business, said: “Our analysis shows landlord licensing is truly a postcode lottery, with a phenomenal range of costs for those that do have to sign up for a scheme. Anyone planning on becoming a landlord, or who already has a property portfolio, should contact their local authority to see if they have a scheme in place.”
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