Coun. Howard Baker (Executive member for Housing & Environment) stated the same old rhetoric, sadly without giving any details. He said “Selective Licensing has made a positive difference in Trinity” and wants to use it in other areas of town “namely Queensgate and Gannow wards”.
So that’s around another £800,000 to be demanded from landlords by Burnley Council. In total covering just three wards in Burnley to date, the council will have taken over £1.6m. without demonstrating the charges are value for money or by submitting a competitive tender against any outside agencies (who are more likely to undertake this supposedly essential management role much cheaper). Neither has he demonstrated any meaningful success over the past five years of licensing in
Trinity Ward. Does Burnley Council really expect landlords can, and will, simply absorb this additional overhead to their business without having to pass on these extortionate fees to tenants (already hit by the bedroom tax etc.) by increasing rents.
The more cynical reader could be forgiven for thinking this is just another backdoor scheme aimed at an “easy target” to bring in more income for Burnley Council and an opportunity too good to miss to offset some expensive management and central overhead costs which could otherwise be put under more pressure
particularly with £3m. of savings needed to balance the authority’s accounts in the near future.
It would appear the council wants to “work with landlords”. We don’t doubt it, after all it’s very financially rewarding, but it has to offer more than this in return. The council has to demonstrate it will produce a recognisable and measurable, much better environment over the next five years in these wards, not just by stating more rhetoric or by using meaningless bland statements and not by simply charging extortionate licensing fees to landlords.
The council has to stop blaming minority groups and start to prosecute bad private owners, unsociable tenants, social and private landlords for poorly maintained properties and, most importantly, vastly reduce the number of low cost, low demand terraced properties in these areas that few people other than some bad owners and tenants seem to want to occupy.