Portsmouth goes ahead with hotly contested HMO licensing expansion

Portsmouth is to go ahead with its contested additional licensing scheme but has promised to reward good landlords by charging them a lower licence fee and doing fewer inspections.

Landlords had urged their council not to go ahead with plans to extend licensing to about 4,000 three- and four-bed houses and pointed to questions about the previous scheme’s effectiveness.

Portsmouth and District Private Landlord Association believes additional licensing will not help resolve problems but says that instead, prices will be pushed up, while landlords may decide it’s not worth continuing to have smaller HMOs.

Although councillors approved the scheme’s launch on 1st September 2023, they decided that those smaller HMOs which are seen to be well managed during the licence application process will be given a cheaper five-year licence (£746) while other properties will be granted licences for two and a half years (£772), or just a single year (£1,035).

Strong views

Cabinet member for safety in the community, councillor Jason Fazackarley, says: “We are grateful to more than 1,000 people who responded to the public consultation, and unsurprisingly there were some strong views expressed from our city’s landlords.

“We’ve listened to their concerns, particularly about the burden that licences put on landlords who are already providing excellent homes for their tenants.

“One aspect of the policy change we will debate will be introducing a tiered approach to these new licences if we decide to implement them.

“This would allow landlords we see providing good properties to hold licences for longer, cost them less and with fewer inspections than those who perform poorly and require regular review.”

Meanwhile, Warwick Council is considering an additional scheme that would include 700 smaller HMOs being licensed. If its proposal gets approved at a cabinet meeting on 7th December, its consultation will run from 9th January to 20th March.

Read a guide to landlord licensing.

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