Landlords 'persecuted' by local authorities

Buy to let landlords are being “persecuted” by local authorities.

This is according to a new investigation by the Telegraph, which spoke to landlords and trade bodies about what the Residential Landlords Association described as a “creeping plague” of costs.

Drawing particular ire are so-called ‘selective licensing’ schemes, operated on a council-by-council basis, under which landlords are asked to pay a fee in order to sign up to a register. National Landlords Association chief executive Richard Lambert told the Telegraph that the costs for registration can be as high as £1,100 per property.

Landlords are concerned that selective licensing is being used as a cash generating exercise for councils, despite authorities’ insistence that the schemes are intended to drive up standards in the private rented sector.

Council tax arrangements have also drawn criticism. Since 2013 local authorities have had the power to decide when they will apply Class C council tax dispensations, under which discounts and exemptions were available for empty properties. Landlords had previously used Class C discounts to cut their outgoings during void periods, but according to the Telegraph many local authorities have now scrapped the dispensations altogether, meaning that landlords are forced to pay council tax when their properties are empty.

Some landlords have received bills for a single day’s council tax in cases when tenancies do not run into each other.

The National Landlords Association is reportedly preparing legal action against a number of local authorities, but what do you think? Are landlords being “persecuted”? Let us know in the comments.