‘Make sure fees improve area’ says landlord

Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall
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A Blackpool landlord has questioned how licensing fees are being spent.

Stuart King, who owns rented accommodation across Blackpool, claims not enough of the money collected as part of a selected licensing scheme in Claremont is being ploughed back into improving the area.

If the council hadn’t run this scheme, the fee I had to pay them would have been spent on my houses, which are my investments

Stuart King

It comes after he submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to find out how fees are being spent.

According to a response from Blackpool Council, the Claremont scheme has generated income to date of £529,292 with expenditure of £387,033. Selective Licensing requires all private landlords in a particular area to have a licence, with five-yearly fees of up to £940 for a property with up to five dwellings.

It is aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour by ensuring responsible tenancy agreements.

Mr King, who is among a group of landlords protesting against plans to extend selective licensing into the town centre, said: “As a landlord I want the money to be used how it was meant to be in the first place; on the area or the houses.

“If the council hadn’t run this scheme, the fee I had to pay them would have been spent on my houses, which are my investments.

“What the council need to understand is they should be working with the good landlords, proactively and progressively. They should be targeting bad and rogue landlords.”

The FOI also showed the selective licensing scheme for South Beach had received income to date of £550,024 with expenditure of £728,930.

Blackpool Council said income from selective licensing would be spent over the duration of the schemes - South Beach is due to run until March 2017, while Claremont will run until March 2019.

The council says it has introduced selective licensing in order to improve housing standards within the private rented sector and tackle anti-social behaviour.