A private landlord argues licence charges to rent out your home in Waltham Forest are "discriminatory".

Christine Madden, 51 of Forest View, North Chingford, is a first time landlord and was handed a £650 bill for a 15 month licence to rent out her flat.

With a typical £650 licence lasting up to five years, Ms Madden says she feels cheated.

Ms Madden said: “I’ve never rented a property before, it’s my home and I’ve temporarily moved away with the intention of coming back eventually.

“I don’t know if I want anything to do with Waltham Forest ever again to be honest.

“I wanted to earn some money while I was away so applied for a licence. At no point did anything appear on the council’s website indicating when the licence would expire so soon.

“I think the council may be looking to see where it can make money. It’s misleading, the council isn’t being upfront and it’s not transparent. People aren’t able to make an informed decision.

“In the private sector, they’d be done for breach of contract. And it’s discriminatory, people applying for licences now are paying more than those who applied years ago.”

Ms Madden has since been told if she does not pay the £650 for the licence she could face a court summons and a fine of up to £30,000.

She added: “That was a threat and I think it is absolutely outrageous. I am not one of those dodgy landlords that they’re trying to catch.”

Cllr Louise Mitchell, cabinet member for housing, explained the authority was currently reviewing its selective licence scheme which is due to expire on March 31, 2020 and is taking legal advice on the issue at the moment.

She said at this stage the council does not know whether a new scheme will come in to replace the existing one in future years, as this will be determined through talks with landlords, tenants and others involved in the private sector.

Cllr Mitchell said: “The fee structure for our existing licensing scheme was calculated on the basis that the scheme would be cost-neutral to the council, with licence fees covering our costs of administering the scheme and wider management and enforcement costs.

“At present, we are consulting on a proposal to introduce a new large scale Selective Licensing scheme but at this stage, we do not know whether a new scheme will be in place beyond the end of March 2020.

“As part of the consultation process, we are consulting on a proposed fee structure under a new licensing scheme.”

The council will hold three consultation meetings on the plans on March 19, 26 and 28.

Cllr Mitchell said she would encourage anyone with an interest in the private rental housing should read the proposals in full and submit their views by clicking here before 29 April 2019.

A council spokesman added that if the scheme were to be renewed in April 2020, the authority would look to get in touch with those who have applied for a licence closer to the April 2020 cut off date to see if there is an option of extending the original licence.