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Licensing Costs Deemed a Postcode Lottery

Posted by Richard Ward

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Research from Direct Line for Business has uncovered that the cost of a landlord licence varies substantially between cities.

The analysis shows that the cost of a new licence ranges from just £55 to £1,150.

In Liverpool, the cost for the first property is £412, whilst in Salford it is 52% higher at £625. The average across the UK was reported at £591.

It is estimated that 460,000 rental properties in England are now covered by a licensing scheme. The scheme allows councils to establish whether landlords are a "fit and proper" person and can include regulations concerning management, property upkeep, and safety measures.

Councils are increasing their use of schemes outside of mandatory licensing to help raise extra revenue. For example, Liverpool City Council received over £4 million in a single year, whilst on average, each council with a scheme in place raised £144,629 from landlord licensing schemes in 2017.

The study also found councils dramatically increasing the costs associated with landlord licences. In the London Borough of Newham, the cost has risen from £500 in 2014-15 to £1,250 in 2017-18, representing an increase of 150%.

Commenting on the findings, Matt Boatwright, Head of Direct Line for Business said: "Our analysis shows landlord licensing is truly a postcode lottery, with a phenomenal range of costs for those that do have to sign up for a scheme. Anyone planning on becoming a landlord, or who already has a property portfolio, should contact their local authority to see if they have a scheme in place."