SPECIAL REPORT: Home licensing ‘might make mortgages harder to get in Boston’

Gavin Dick
Gavin Dick

Buyers could struggle to get a mortgage to buy homes in Boston if a council plan to licence all rented homes goes ahead, according to landlords.

he borough council is consulting on plans to make all landlords pay to register their private rented homes in the town to combat issues such as anti-social behaviour and overcrowding.

Landlords in the town fear it will have serious knock-on effects – with the National Landlords Association saying their experience from elsewhere in the country is that mortgage lenders are less likely to want to part with funds in towns that have licensing schemes.

NLA local authority policy officer Gavin Dick said: “If mortgage lenders have to repossess a property then they would technically become a landlord and would have to have a licence for that property. Banks don’t want to become landlords.

“We have seen in areas of the country where there is licensing mortgages have been withdrawn, such as Newham in London. There is genuine concern for people out there on that issue.”

A council spokesman said: “We will consider this as part of the consultation process.”

Mr Dick feels that the council have argued they want to bring in licensing to ease anti-social behaviour issues but have not provided the facts to prove a problem stems from the private rented sector.

Mr Dick says the NLA wants to work with the council to look at issues in Boston. He says the council should set up a forum to work with landlords – and use the full force of the law against rogue operators so that law-abiding businessmen are not punished.

He added: “The good landlords that obey the law will have the additional cost. The criminal people who put 20 people in a flat or house are not going to get a licence so the council are still not going to know about them.”

He also pointed out the fact that Boston’s licences are proposed to start at £490 – a figure higher than the £370 paid in Dudley in the West Midlands.

Landlords also fear it will drive small local operators out of business and drive up rents for tenants.

The issues were aired at a packed meeting at the New England Hotel on Thursday.

A further meeting is being arranged by Thomas Campbell Estate Agents at the Assembly Rooms in Boston on Tuesday at 7pm. A representative from the police is expected to attend to offer their take on anti-social behaviour and housing issues.