Sussex

Hastings landlords warn of rent rise under new scheme

Landlords in Hastings have warned they will have to put up rents if plans for a licensing scheme are introduced.

Hastings Borough Council is currently consulting over the plan, which it says would reduce anti-social behaviour and encourage landlords to take more responsibility for their tenants.

It wants to introduce a fee of £415 per property for the licence.

Tony Richard, from the National Landlords Association, said "rents will have to rise".

"This new scheme would be in addition to the existing licensing scheme in Hastings, so it's another operational cost the landlords will have to foot," he said.

"The council fails to understand that letting property is a business, so the unintended consequence is obvious."

However, Clive Gross, from Generation Rent, which campaigns for better and more affordable housing, said Hastings had become a dumping ground for tenants.

"We need more tools in the locker to make sure we can drive up the standard of housing," he said.

"And make sure those landlords who are exploiting their tenants... can be brought to book."

Jeremy Birch, Labour leader of Hastings Borough Council, said it wanted to improve the quality of rented accommodation.

He said: "Hastings has a far higher percentage of privately rented accommodation than other towns in the area and we want to improve the quality and management of this accommodation and drive up standards in the town.

"Our evidence suggests higher levels of antisocial behaviour are a feature where high density private renting exists within the town and that's why we are considering the scheme."

He said the proposed scheme was out for consultation until 5 January.

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