Sheffield landlords to pay for licences

The Page Hall area where private landlords will be forced to pay for licences
The Page Hall area where private landlords will be forced to pay for licences
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Landlords in a Sheffield suburb are up in arms over plans to make them pay for licences for homes they rent out.

Council chiefs are considering forcing landlords in Page Hall to pay for licences - which would only be granted to those who agree to meet a raft of conditions, including having clear tenancy agreements in place.

Penalty charges of up to £20,000 would be incurred if landlords rent properties without a licence or breach the terms of them.

The council claims the scheme is ‘designed to protect potentially vulnerable tenants and the wider community from the consequences of properties being let irresponsibly’.

It has been put out to public consultation following an increasing number of complaints from the community about the condition of some rented homes, litter and large groups of residents gathering around on street corners at all times of the day and night.

But Ahsan Ashraf, a private landlord and member of the Firvale Community Action Team, made up of residents, tenants and landlords, said: “Tenants fear the proposal will threaten them with evictions and higher rents as landlord recoup the fees and more from the tenants.

“People feel the plan acts in a discriminatory manner as new citizens from outside the UK will not have references when they arrive in the country and therefore will be unable to rent in a selective licencing area.

“Landlords feel this blanket approach is unfair for the majority who already maintain their properties according to fire, electric, and gas regulations and have to bear the cost for the negligence of a minority of landlords.”

Coun Harry Harpham, Sheffield Council deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, said: “Unfortunately, over the last few years we have seen an increase in the number of irresponsible landlords, especially in the Page Hall area.

“These landlords are failing to comply with basic regulations, meaning they end up giving all landlords in the area a bad name.”