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Newham Council's property licensing called a 'tax on good landlords'

PUBLISHED: 16:00 12 May 2012

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales, explaining the property rented licensing proposals, with Mark Alexander, landlord and founder of Property118.com, and David Salusbury, NLA chairman in the debate at the ExCeL Centre.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales, explaining the property rented licensing proposals, with Mark Alexander, landlord and founder of Property118.com, and David Salusbury, NLA chairman in the debate at the ExCeL Centre.

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Council plans to tackle wayward landlords by introducing a £30 license fee were called "a tax on good landlords" following the Property Business Show.

Launched in October and piloted in Little Ilford, Manor Park, the regulation scheme is the subject of an online consultation and it would be the first of its kind if approved by councillors.

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales heralded the scheme as “leading the country when it comes to tackling bad landlords who flout the law.”

He continued: “We want to ensure that private sector rented properties are well managed and meet a good standard. We also want to deal with the crime and anti-social behaviour that is sometimes associated with bad private sector rented housing.

“There are good landlords in Newham and we want to work with them. Unfortunately there are also some unscrupulous ones – which these proposals would target.”

Opposing him on the panel was Mark Alexander, landlord and founder of advice website Property118.com, who does not think the licensing scheme tackles the issue.

Mark told the Recorder: “The problem is that the council seem to be collecting the monies but they’re not doing anything with it.

“So I cannot see how the license will be making a lot of difference. It will just be a tax on good landlords and the bad ones will just ignore it.”

Currently, one in three properties in Newham are rented and this figure is set to rise to 50 per cent over the next few years.

Mark doubts other London boroughs will adopt the scheme, adding: “I think Newham Council will fail miserably and it will create a lot of bad feeling.

“The problem is not legislation, there is too much legislation that is not being enforced.

“If Sir Robin Wales was doing something that would solve the problem, I would support him but I don’t think it will.”

Following council approval, property licensing will be rolled out in the summer, affecting 35,000 privately rented properties in the borough.

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