Posts with tag: Weston-super-Mare

Landlords Successfully Overthrow Selective Licensing Plans

Published On: September 1, 2016 at 8:36 am


Categories: Landlord News

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Over the past couple of months, we have covered the story of the Somerset Property Network’s battle against North Somerset Council’s selective licensing plans for landlords in Weston-super-Mare.

In late July, a group of landlords in the county decided to form the Somerset Property Network, in a bid to campaign against the new licensing scheme proposed by North Somerset Council.

Landlords Successfully Overthrow Selective Licensing Plans

Landlords Successfully Overthrow Selective Licensing Plans

The group, led by Paul Routledge (a veteran property investor) and Samantha Boyd (a private tenant), managed to raise £12,000 to take the council to judicial review in order to overturn the plans. Somerset Property Network believes that the council’s initial consultation was careless and unnecessary – “a money-making exercise at the expense of good landlords and tenants”.

Now, North Somerset Council has officially announced that it will not be progressing with the original licensing scheme, as it is aware that the Somerset Property Network has challenged the plans, suggesting a number of alternatives.

North Somerset Council remains committed to driving up the standards of private rental homes across the county, and will conduct a further review of the other options available to improve the condition of private rental properties, once it has considered the additional feedback supplied by landlords.

The council is now arranging a meet-up with representatives of local landlords, including members of the Somerset Property Network and the Private Sector Housing Forum, to explore the alternatives suggested.

North Somerset Council plans to arrange an initial meeting in early September, and, in addition, will engage with a cross-section of tenants to form a balanced view from the sector.

Somerset Property Network is confident that North Somerset Council is now listening and willing to work with responsible landlords to improve housing conditions for all tenants across the county.

Routledge, also the CEO of, comments: “It is a great day for democracy and it proves it is never too late to talk. Good landlords in Weston-super-Mare are determined to rid problem landlords of our communities as much as any council; bad landlords reduce our investments and bring problems to our neighbourhoods. But the way forward is to work with the good to fight the bad, so let’s hope that’s what we can do now.

“It is our intention to put together a Somerset Property Network Voluntary Charter, whereby we can submit a standard that we all believe [as landlords] should be met and work with our good tenants to provide long-term, better homes for all. It is simple: good landlords want good tenants, and good tenants want good landlords. That works for us all.”

Co-organiser Samantha Boyd adds: “The support we’ve had on this case has been absolutely phenomenal, not just from Somerset landlords, but from landlords right around the country too. Even better, the money that we raised to take North Somerset Council to judicial review can now be spent on property improvements to provide better homes and communities for all.

“All councils need to take a leaf out of North Somerset Council’s book and listen to their good landlords and tenants, for a fair and just outcome for everyone.”

Landlords to Take North Somerset Council to Judicial Review

Landlords in Weston-super-Mare have joined together to take North Somerset Council to judicial review over its proposed selective licensing scheme.

Just under two weeks ago, we reported that landlords in Somerset have joined together to create the Somerset Property Network in a bid to campaign against the new licensing scheme.

Last week, after just a month of campaigning, the Somerset Property Network held its first meeting for local landlords who will be affected by the Weston-super-Mare selective licensing scheme. The group concluded that the next step is to take North Somerset Council to judicial review.

Landlords to Take North Somerset Council to Judicial Review

Landlords to Take North Somerset Council to Judicial Review

Around 80 buy-to-let landlords attended the event to discuss their collective belief that the process of the council’s initial licensing consultation was careless and unnecessary.

Christian Louka and Robert Carter, of Mydeposits, also attended the event to help landlords with protecting tenancy deposits and dealing with deposit disputes.

The majority of landlords in attendance were from the Central and Hillside wards of Weston-super-Mare, which are directly affected by the proposed scheme. These 51 landlords represented 187 properties in the selective licensing area.

Additionally, 29 North Somerset landlords, who are not in the selective licensing area, came out to support those that will be affected and express their concern over how the council has handled the private rental sector over the last 39 years.

In total, the landlord attendees represented over 700 North Somerset private rental properties.

Independent North Somerset Councillor Derek Mead, also a landlord, pledged his support at the event to get the scheme overturned. One member even flied in from Germany to attend.

Worryingly, however, 25% of the landlords in the selective licensing area had no idea about this scheme being implemented, which is due in November, until the Somerset Property Network campaign was launched.

One of the event’s organisers, Paul Routledge, who owns 44 self-contained flats within the selective licensing area, has spent over £600,000 in refurbishments over the last five years and has even been used by North Somerset Council to show other councils how areas can be improved by good landlords. However, he will soon be forced to pay £14,080 in licensing fees.

He said: “It’s important to understand that our group’s objective is not to fight North Somerset Council, but to work with them to create a better private rented sector for all parties involved.

“For instance, all of my tenants have signed a petition to say they do not need to be selectively licensed and that they are comfortable with their homes. They do not want their rents raised, as suggested by Mr. Mark Hughes, and we do not believe that selective licensing will do the job and that it’ll simply drive a wedge between landlords and their tenants.”

He added: “It’s a shame that North Somerset Council refused our invitation to attend and answer important questions that landlords have about the selective licensing scheme. I think they could have learned a thing or two about constructive debate and the value of listening to the very people who are going to be affected by this scheme.”

Landlords Oppose Licensing Scheme in Weston-Super-Mare

Published On: July 19, 2016 at 11:42 am


Categories: Landlord News

Tags: ,,,

Landlords are joining forces to oppose a new licensing scheme in Weston-super-Mare, which has been created to improve poor quality rental properties in the area.

Landlords Oppose Licensing Scheme in Weston-Super-Mare

Landlords Oppose Licensing Scheme in Weston-Super-Mare

The scheme has been slammed for being “short-sighted” and nothing more than another “money-making exercise” at the expense of landlords.

Landlords have spoken out in opposition of the new license, which would cover Central ward and part of Hillside. More than 50 landlords have teamed up to create the Somerset Property Network to campaign against the scheme, which would cost landlords £320 for a five-year license.

The group has also organised a question time event at The Royal Hotel, Weston-super-Mare on 28th July. More details can be found here:

A spokesperson for the group complained that all landlords are being “tarred with the same brush”, saying: “We do not need the council to tell us how to run our business and charge us for the privilege of doing so.

“So we have created this group for competent landlords across Somerset, where we can all get together and unite as one voice. We can also challenge the council as a united stronghold over landlord issues in the future.

“It is so short-sighted to lose landlord support, as the tenant only ends up back through the council doors costing North Somerset money.”

However, Councillor Ap Rees has defended the license, which would carry a minimum standard criteria. Anyone not meeting these standards could be prosecuted.

Rees comments: “We are determined to root out rogue landlords in this area of Weston and we need to be in a position to inspect all rental properties within the selected area. To do that, we have to cover the costs. The basic charge is the cost of the license and the compliance visit.

“We accept that sometimes it isn’t the landlords, it may be the tenants that cause the damage, but the only way to monitor that is to visit the property. Conscientious landlords have nothing to fear.”

Are you opposed to landlord licensing schemes? Join the group in campaigning against these plans.