Landlords in Northampton have warned that introducing new fees for property owners across the town could have a detrimental effect on the quality of lets, as well as driving up the price that tenants are charged on a monthly basis.

According to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, the local council is discussing bringing in a licence fee to make sure that those with buy-to-let homes are operating in a professional manner and fulfilling all of their obligations to their clients.

However, the landlord insurance customers sought out by the news provider said that the only outcome this will create is to push the price that the average tenant has to pay upwards, as those letting their homes try to compensate for the charge and not lose income.

Councillor Mary Markham said that the proposed change to the regulations regarding homes of multiple occupancy (HMOs) would mean that the standard of the average rental in this sector would improve because landlords would be subject to more scrutiny.

However, those operating in the market said that anyone who was not already adhering to levels of best practice would simply continue to operate under the radar and not alert the council to the fact that they were letting an HMO.

This would mean that other landlords would simply up prices, with tenants being the only ones who would be likely to lose out of the deal.

Susan Dowding, a landlord in Northampton with 20 years experience, said: "If you have a problem area you should focus on the individual rather than target everyone.

"If there is a bad house with a bad landlord they should bring in selective licensing for that landlord."

This comes at a time when buy-to-let investors have come under increased scrutiny in the market, with a range of organisations looking at ways to enforce new rules.

An example of this has been the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), which wants lettings agents to be forced to advertise all prices and additional charges upfront to make sure tenants are not left with a nasty surprise charge after signing.