Landlord licensing: raising standards or a tenants tax?

As we reported recently, Leeds City Council is considering introducing mandatory licensing for private sector landlords in the Beeston Hill area. They have now announced three drop in sessions (see below) where you can find out more about the proposals and comment on them.

To Let: private rented housing in Beeston Hill

But South Leeds Life has also been contacted by landlords opposed to the plans who say licensing could push up rents and reduce the numbers of options for tenants.

If implemented, the scheme will involve property inspections to make sure properties are being maintained, are safe and secure. The scheme will be paid for by a one off fee of £825 per property, paid by the landlord.

Maz Khan, who is campaigning against the scheme, told us:

“The proposed Scheme consists of excessive fee per property and exhaustive conditions outlined would place an onerous burden on owners and agents and drive up rents in what is already poor parts of Leeds, effectively becoming a tenant tax.”

He said that landlords are being required to police anti-social behaviour and that he is aware of landlords that will sell their properties if the scheme is introduced, reducing the number of properties available to rent.

You can find out more about the Council’s plans and comment on them at

Three drop in sessions have been organised where you can find more details about Selective Licensing and discuss the proposals with Council officers:

Wednesday 19 September 3pm – 8pm
Hamara Healthy Living Centre, Tempest Road, LS11 6RD

Thursday 27 September 3pm – 7:30pm
Hillside, Beeston Road, LS11 8ND

Monday 1 October 3pm – 8pm
Vale Circles, 12 Tunstall Road, LS11 5JF

The Say No To Selective Licensing website sets out arguments against the scheme.

Cllr Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said:

“A priority for the council is to improve the quality of housing across the city and make sure private rented homes are well managed by landlords. This is why we’re considering introducing selective licensing in parts of Beeston and Harehills.

“We really want to hear your views on these selective licensing proposals and want as many people as possible to have their say.”


13 Replies to “Landlord licensing: raising standards or a tenants tax?”

  1. It is a massive tenant tax, NO funds to improve area (unlike Cross Green), trying to force tenants to live under social control by Leeds City Council.

    There will be higher rents, more evictions and areas being slum labelled. All whilst council picks up a cool £5million+

    1. When you say ‘the Council picks up a cool £5million+’, we might also say ‘taxpayers pick up a cool £5million+’, which doesn’t sound like such a bad deal to me as a taxpayer.

      And if it leads to improved properties in the area, then it will also improve the area as a whole, surely?

  2. When you read the council’s reasons it’s easy to see that none of them apply to the property. This failed in Cross Green & was scrapped after 2 years. The council injected funds which it will not do here. The tax is to be used to fund it’s officers & other schemes. Ultimately each landlord will have to pay over £1000. This money can only come from increased rents. So the council in its infinite wisdom of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut will hurt the poorest tenants with increased rents & very little effect on where they live. Briiliant idea.

  3. Already lcc has made a hash of herehills road works ,it’s a nightmare for drivers ,ambulances ,buses and trucks and now they are about to finish off the housing market ,landlords will av to evict tenants by force or raise rents 50 percent up. ,they r killing landlord right ,it’s shame on lcc.

  4. I’d be interested to know if the people posting to oppose this scheme are landlords or tenants… I share the worries that the licensing might wind up being a ‘tenant tax’ or leading to a black market. But there’s no question that lots of the housing in our area is absolutely appalling, so I think something has to be done.

  5. I’d like to stress no decision has been made as to whether this will go ahead and the consultation team are very eager to get as much feedback as possible, from as wide a group as possible.

    Just to be clear on the costs. If after the consultation, the business case is made and the Councils Executive Board accepts the proposals as currently set out. The 5-year licence for those who currently don’t have a HMO licence, will cost a landlord an extra £165 per year (£13.75 a month). This is hardly excessive and well within most landlord’s ability to absorb without passing on to tenant.

    I’d suggest people read the full FAQ as there is quite a bit of miss-information out there and if people do have question, they can contact the consultation team who are happy to chat.

    But please, give your feedback. Nothing has been decided. Your views do matter and can made a difference.

    1. Councillor; I think it is a little disingenuous to state landlords shall absorb this cost as the council has no evidence to support this and no powers to stop rent rises. Is LCC taking all fees upfront? If so is it not hypocritical to then expect housing providers to spread this cost over 60 months?

      From all information I believe that even my landlord has stated that they shall either sell up or increase the rent; both options taking money out of my pocket or leaving me homeless. Why are Debra Coupar and her Labour cronies now avoiding actual discussion on this con, just like the UNmanaged zone?

      If there is an issue with rogue landlords; why does the evidence show that there has been barely 40 prosecutions of these people across the WHOLE of West Yorkshire in the past 2 years. Could it be that the council is overstating the case to plug a hole in your budget? You can fool all of the people some of the time…. calling this a tenant tax is being polite.

      1. Sorry, I have just seen this comment. I didn’t put comment alerts on. I haven’t seen the final recommendations yet, but I’m hoping that if the Executive Board do accept the case, they will have heeded our feedback to spread the cost over the length of the proposed licence period and not upfront, as well as some other amendments.

        In terms of prosecutions, I’m not a legal expect. But from what I do understand though is that these cases are complex and lengthy and not overly effective due to a number of loop-holes the government is now trying to fill. That provides a massive disincentive and cost risk ATM.

        I think most landlords, certainly the once I’ve spoken too, accept there is a small, but not insignificant number of them who don’t treat tenant fairly. My inbox has at least one such case a week I need to refer on to the private landlord team.

        The concept of Selective Licensing is to make sure properties are habitable before letting and covers a group of properties not already covered by mandatory HMO licensing. There is also a very large range of properties excluded.

        The question for the Executive Board is whether the risk of reduced supply and of some or all of the cost being transferred outweighs the benefits of makings sure the small group of landlords who do the rest of the sector a dis-justice, have properties safe and habitable before letting. That isn’t an easy answer to reach as they’ll need to weigh up not just short term impacts, but longer term one on issues such as health outcomes etc.

  6. I have a property in Cross Green and paid for a 5 year licence. It caused me additional administration and cost (just over £500 I think) and I gained nothing from the scheme. Neither did my tenants.
    I agree that many of the properties are in an awful state of disrepair and there is a lot of antisocial behaviour.
    My proposition would be to identify those properties where there are what you perceive as rogue landlords and concentrate your efforts, the landlord’s and your resources on making a real difference to those particular properties. The current method causes hassle and costs to all landlords and in my opinion is not effective – unless you did prevent a substantial number of landlords from renting again or succeeded in cleaning up their properties and minimised anti-social behaviour. Perhaps I just saw no evidence of this? Could the details of the success / failure of the Cross Green Scheme be published?

  7. I would express a concern that implementing a scheme like this would simply mean a significant number of landlords simply passing on the cost of compliance onto their tenants, by increasing their rent, on the next occasion that the tenancy agreement expires.

    Ultimately, any element of cost added by an authority to a sector (whatever that sector is) is passed onto the end user, much like the phrase ‘all taxes fall on people’.

    Due to the high demand for rented accommodation, this situation will only continue in the years ahead, as demand always outstrips supply.

  8. I think the council collecting £5million + without illustrating where this figure comes from or where this money shall be spent shows that this is a tenant tax.

    It’s interesting to see that councillors talk about this being a small monthly “hit”. But tenants can’t afford it and landlords always seek to recover their costs ASAP. Leading to increases of £25-£50 a month. All whilst there is no actual outline on how any properties anywhere are to be improved. So far; all this licensing can involve revolves around management (tenancies, ASB policy etc) and not around conditions. So how exactly will this improve conditions and shouldn’t all of the inner city have better conditions regardless of location or if it’s private or social housing. Tenants are sick of extra costs and more checks all while the council do nothing but waste money on vanity projects and half baked road layouts.

  9. This is a tenant tax as councillor Wray already stated that Selective Licensing has nothing to do with housing conditions, but more to do with tenancies and management policies. All of which are already in place.

    Maybe the proposed housing redress scheme is a better way forward for tenants, giving a robust complaints procedure, but that doesn’t net the council millions in extra revenue.

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