Senior Policy Officer at the NLA, David Cox, shares some good news for NLA members and accredited landlords in Birmingham
Birmingham City Council has sent a strong message to landlords who let in the city. They have committed to supporting good landlords by offering significant HMO license discounts to NLA members and accredited landlords.
Landlords who belong to a professional body such as the NLA and landlords accredited with the NLA or the Midlands Landlord Accreditation Scheme (MLAS) will pay reduced fees for their first five year HMO license applications and their five year license renewals.
For accredited landlords and members of the NLA, the cost of a new five year HMO license application will be £700. The cost of a five year renewal will now be £400. In contrast, those landlords who have chosen not to become accredited through MLAS or the NLA and those who are not members of a professional organisation will pay £1,150 for a new 5 year licence (£450 more than NLA members and accredited landlords) and £850 for a 5 year renewal (£450 more than NLA members and accredited landlords).
And landlords who fail to meet the legal requirement to apply for a licence will only be given a one year licence and will be made to pay the full fee again one year later in order to get a 5 year licence.
These significant discounts are thanks to the hard work of the NLA’s West Midlands Regional Representative, Mary Latham, who has been working with Senior Officers at the Council since 2011.
Mary proposed an alternative approach to the fee structure when the first HMO licenses were due for renewal over two years ago. The proposal was based on offering discounts to those landlords who have taken the trouble to learn, through an education based accreditation scheme, and ensure that they are supported by joining a recognised landlords’ association. On the other side of the coin, those landlords who have broken the law by not applying for a HMO licence on time would be expected to cover the extra costs involved in tracing and chasing them. With the Council recovering their costs from the bad landlords, the good landlords could be licensed at a much lower fee and the council would still balance their books.
After many discussions, Birmingham City Council accepted the proposal in a report. It said:
“The fee structure for the HMO licensing scheme has been reviewed in the light of a proposal submitted by the National Landlord Association on behalf of their members operating in the city.
“The headline cost of the fee has not been altered but the levels of discount to members of certain professional organisations and members of the Midland Landlord Accreditation scheme have been increased. This will encourage landlords to respond more rapidly and penalise those who fail to comply. Those providing incomplete applications will be penalised as will owners and managers of unlicensed properties.”
In addition, Jacqui Kennedy, former Director of Regulation and Enforcement at Birmingham City Council who endorsed the proposal, recognised the need to encourage good landlords to work with the city:
“To continue with the structure of fees and discounts set in February 2012 will cause damage to the reputation of Birmingham City Council in its dealings with the body of reputable private landlords and have a negative impact on dialogue intended to encourage owners to provide decent secure homes for the vulnerable and in need.”
This just goes to show what we can achieve when working in conjunction with our local authorities.
Mary Latham, Regional Representative for Birmingham, says:
“I am delighted that Birmingham City Council is supporting the good landlords. Professional landlords, who provide much needed affordable HMO accommodation, will really appreciate this recognition of their efforts.
“The NLA have an excellent relationship with this Birmingham City Council and we will continue to work with them to meet the housing needs of people living in the city.”