A Conservative MP is weighing in, in support of landlords arguing against a £700 licensing fee by the local council.
James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, says: “Southend Council already has the powers to tackle rogue landlords, and I am afraid this proposal is just a tax on the town’s good landlords.
“It will disincentivise new landlords from coming to the marketplace and give a reason for existing landlords to get out of the sector.
“This will lead to a reduction in the number of properties available to rent in Southend and in turn push up rent prices for residents.
"I am sure the council’s intentions are good, but this proposal will just drive the very behaviours they are hoping to avoid.”
His comments to the Southend Echo come after a dispute between the council and local landlords body, SEAL.
Southend council wants landlords to pay a £700 per property selective licence fee but in its consultation it asks what SEAL believes are leading questions.
Judith Codarin, SEAL secretary, says: “There were questions with basically one answer like would you like to improve your home and would you like less antisocial behaviour? There is only one answer to questions like that. No one is going to say they want worse housing and more antisocial behaviour.
“We’ve tried to move forward on this but the way they have done it is totally political. Everyone wants these things but the way it is being pushed through is very inappropriate timing when we are all trying to catch up with issues around the pandemic.”
Southend Council is a run by a Labour-led coalition.