Councillors have approved the introduction of mandatory licensing of all private landlords operating in the Beeston Hill area.
At the Council’s Executive Board, meeting on 26 June 2019, officers argued that private rented housing was a relevant factor in increasing levels of deprivation in the area. Whilst landlords in other parts of the city have signed up to an accreditation scheme which promotes improvement, there is very low take up of the scheme by landlords operating in Beeston Hill.
Landlords have argued vigourously that the scheme will be counter productive. They claim the charge of £825 will be added to rent as a “Tenants Tax.”
South Leeds Life received uncomfirmed reports of some landlords exerting pressure on their tenants to oppose the measure in the recent consultation.
The report notes that whilst residents commenting in person at the Dewsbury Road Community Hub were largely in favour of the scheme, online responses were more hostile. Analysis revealed that there were multiple responses from single IP addresses, which indicates that they were completed from a single property.
In the overall returns for the online electronic questionnaire, 121 IP addresses were used to complete 3 or more questionnaires, which accounted for 826 responses out of the total 982 responses from the Beeston residents’ responses. One IP address was responsible for 55 responses.
Tahran Ali, a local resident and member of the 300+ strong Leeds Landlord group campaigning against selective licensing told South Leeds Life:
“We’re disappointed the Council are pushing ahead with this unwarranted and clunky proposal. Many local people (tenants, landlords, local businesses and others) are against it. We do not believe licencing in this manner has any real benefit for our communities – this scheme will see rents soar, and achieve very little.
“Without greater investment and funding, selective licensing is just a tenant tax. We’ve an alternative proposal – that’s smarter, more resource efficient and more collaborative – that we’re asking the Council and national government to consider.”
The scheme, which will affect half of the 6,400 properties in the area (see map) will come into effect on 6 January 2020.