A newly introduced license scheme designed to improve 'poor quality rented housing' in Weston-super-Mare has been slammed for being 'short-sighted' and nothing short of yet another 'money-making exercise' at landlords' expense.
Landlords are strongly opposed to the new license, which will cover Central ward and part of Hillside, and now more than 50 landlords joined forces to set up the Somerset Property Network to campaign against the scheme, which will cost landlords £320 for a five-year license.
A spokesman for the network bemoaned the fact that all landlords are getting 'tarred with the same brush', and said: "We do not need the council to tell us how to run our businesses 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."
But Cllr Ap Rees has defended the licence which will carry a minimum standard criteria and anyone not meeting the benchmark could be prosecuted.
Rees said: "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"
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