Leeds & West Yorkshire

Poorest tenants in Leeds 'facing rent rises and evictions'

Street scene in Harehills Leeds Image copyright BBC News
Image caption Up to 6,500 properties in Harehills and Beeston in Leeds could be included in a new licensing scheme

Private landlords in two of the poorest parts of Leeds have claimed tenants face rent rises or eviction if a new licensing scheme is introduced.

Leeds City Council is considering introducing the selective licensing scheme for up to 6,500 properties in the Beeston and Harehills wards.

Landlords claim the cost of a £825 licence for each property will be passed onto tenants.

The council said the scheme would help tackle rogue landlords.

Beeston and Harehills are two of the poorest council wards in England, and the city council has warned deprivation levels have left some residents living in poor quality private rented properties.

The selective licensing scheme currently being considered would require all privately rented properties to be inspected and licensed.

The vast majority of homes in England can be rented out privately without the requirement for a licence.

Miriam Goncalvas, who lives in Harehills, is one of thousands of tenants who have been told by their landlords that they could see a rise in their rent.

"It would be very bad for me if the rents go up because I'm a single mum working in a nearby warehouse," she said.

"The cost of living is already going up and it would be very hard for me to afford any extra rent if this licensing scheme is introduced."

Image copyright BBC News
Image caption Harehills resident Miriam Goncalvas has been told her rent may rise

Opposition against the proposed selective licensing scheme has been coordinated by about 300 landlords in the city,

Haroon Hussain claimed the proposed scheme would bring no benefits to tenants but would instead drive up rents and the number of people being evicted.

The landlord said: "Leeds City Council might generate over £5m from this scheme but under the current rules none of that money can be spent on improving the local area.

"The only impact of this will be that rents will go up, and therefore the number of people being evicted, which means the council will have to spend more money on re-housing them."

A consultation about the proposed licensing scheme closed in October, with the council set to make a decision about whether to implement the proposal at some point in 2019.

Councillor Debra Coupar, the authority's executive member for communities, said: "A priority for the council is to improve the quality of housing across the city and make sure private rented homes are well managed by landlords."

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