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Portsmouth HMO Licence Fees Increase 30%

Student-Money

The March Housing Cabinet saw the price of an HMO licence hiked by 30% to £1,150 – the highest in the south of England.  

Good, Bad and More To Do 

The good news is that the licence charge will now be in 2 parts – the first when you apply (to cover the cost of processing an application) and the second when the licence is granted (to cover the cost of inspecting properties and administering the scheme).This is the required legal format and it is good to see PCC finally comply.

They have also broken out the cost of enforcement – so the cost of chasing the rogues will not be paid for by the good guys as it has been for the past decade, also against government rules.

We made a delegation at the meeting arguing that:

  • Prices are too high compared to all of the local authorities in the area
    • Portsmouth £1,150
    • Winchester £955
    • Guildford £855
    • Brighton £711
    • Bournemouth £595
    • Southampton £290 or £650 (see below)
    • PCC responded arguing that the price was far (cost of the service divided by number of licences) and that Bristol charged about the same
  • Southampton have 2 prices:
    • £290 if you use a qualified assessor to perform inspections, so you only need to pay for Admin
    • £650 if Soton council inspectors perform the inspection
    • We asked for a similar breakout of costs and options (especially as many of the council staff do not have the EHO / CIEH qualifications required to do a proper assessment in a consistent and objective manner, we argued that some are too eager and too poorly trained)
  • We asked that renewal costs be much lower, as most of the work has already been done in terms of setup of licence
  • We asked that a 'late rate' be introduced, to penalise those who do not apply when they should and to ease the costs burden on those who comply as they should

Councillor Scott Payter-Harris (Cons) saw real merit in some of our suggestions and in discussion with council staff and the chair, Councillor Darren Sanders (LibDem) it was finally agreed to accept the current proposed price increase but to ask council staff to come back with a revised pricing structure in the Autumn based on our suggestions.

We will obviously be following this up at that time and hopefully, will have better news then. This is important as it sets a precedent for the cost of managing a licence and if, as expected, Additional Licensing is introduced to cover all HMO's in the city, these prices will hurt many more of our tenants. 

You can see the video of the relevant part of the Cabinet Meeting on the member page at pdpla.com (you need to be logged in)

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