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All Change for Landlords and Letting Agents

Patrick Alan Sullivan - MARLA, a portfolio landlord, managing director of letting agency Red Brick, comments

Well you can’t have missed the new world we have found ourselves in. The new way we are doing business and wondering what will change? I’ve been asked to write about my thoughts and experiences during these times as both an investor and letting agent.

Firstly, Coventry City Council: A city-wide ‘additional licensing’ scheme was approved at a full council meeting on 14 January but ward-specific ‘selective licensing’ came to a halt after it was voted down to allow for further investigations.

The new additional licensing policy will focus on HMOs and a landlord who has been operating an unlicensed HMO will pay £1,250 for just a one-year licence. For a new HMO the cost is £1,055 for a one-year licence if they are not listed as part of the council’s ‘proactive enforcement regime’. If the landlord meets a string of extra requirements they pay £705 for a two-year licence; but there is an exhaustive list of requirements to qualify for a £640 five-year licence. All of these costs will end up being added to rental costs to tenants.

The Council has gone ahead and has brought in the licensing scheme from 4th May - despite clear government guidelines, which advise that the introduction of new, non-mandatory licensing schemes should be paused. Granted, it was back in January when this was signed-off but since then much has occurred.

Many landlords I talk to that are members of the Coventry Landlords Facebook group, are now looking seriously at what direction to take in September. Students have all now gone and these landlords have no idea when, or if, they will return.

So landlords are asking themselves; do they go through the significant cost and expense of a licence for a small HMO or let to an entire family, or simply sell. That assumes of course that they can get the tradesman out to do the required works, floor plans, etc.

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