Postcode lottery for landlords

Nia Williams

October 16, 2009

Legislation dictates that larger houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) require a mandatory licence, introduced to ensure appropriate living conditions are maintained in larger properties and to stop landlords from letting sub-standard properties. However, it seems that inconsistencies exist across the country in local authority implementation of these rules and the resulting costs for buy to let investors.

It appears that landlords in Newcastle are bearing the brunt by paying £1,100 for an HMO Licence, which is almost double the £600 charged by neighbouring Gateshead. By comparison Basingstoke only charge £250 and Norwich City Council charge £270. Landlord Assist has been notified of one local authority that charges a further £80 simply to change the address of a landlord.

The charges seem unnecessary and compound the costs facing landlords in a sector, which the Government should be encouraging.

Graham Kinnear, managing director of Landlord Assist, said: “We accept the rationale behind the need for a licence but do not understand that the cost of obtaining one can vary so much according to location. Such variations in costs can only be damaging to the industry as landlords with property interests will simply avoid the costliest areas.”

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