SPECIAL REPORT: ‘Rented home licensing is sledgehammer to crack a nut’

Richard Austin
Richard Austin

An independent councillor says there is a ‘better way’ to tackle housing issues in Boston.

Coun Richard Austin says the council ‘quite rightly’ wants to tackle ‘substandard’ housing and overcrowding, but said: “What is proposed has every appearance of being a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

“It runs the big risk of being ineffective and having many undesirable consequences. These could include higher rents, a big increase in short six month tenancies, fewer flats and houses to rent, greater difficulty obtaining mortgages and an increase in the number of homeless people.

“It will also impose a lot of bureaucracy onto all landlords and increase borough council costs. There is a better way.”

He said that plans are afoot at Westminster to require all landlords to be registered and possibly accredited in 2015. He also pointed to the possible creation of a confidential hotline so that people can report the ‘worst cases’ of rogue landlords.

He added: “There are probably very few rogue landlords in Boston. Therefore the council needs only to tackle the exceptional problem cases. It would be wholly wrong to adopt the current proposals that are likely to have major undesirable and unintended consequences to a large proportion of the population.”

The consultation runs until January 31 and responses can be made at www.boston.gov.uk or call 01205 314200 to find out more from the housing team.