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Housing commission wrong on licensing

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Proposals to make it easier for London boroughs to introduce landlord licensing schemes will do nothing to root out criminal landlords.
That’s the warning from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) in response to a new report on housing in the capital out today.
The London Housing Commission recommends that Ministers should give boroughs the power to create their own landlord licensing schemes.

Proposals to make it easier for London boroughs to introduce landlord licensing schemes will do nothing to root out criminal landlords.

That’s the warning from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) in response to a new report on housing in the capital out today.

The London Housing Commission recommends that Ministers should give boroughs the power to create their own landlord licensing schemes.

However the RLA argues that such schemes are a waste of time and money since criminal landlords who cause misery for tenants never make themselves known. Ministers have previously dubbed licensing schemes a: “tenants’ tax”.

Instead, the RLA is calling for councils across London to use the powers already available to have the large majority of good landlords regulated by a single, robust industry-run scheme leaving authorities free to better target criminal landlords who operate under the radar.

Commenting on the recommendation, RLA Chairman, Alan Ward said: “We all want to see criminal landlords rooted out of the sector but making licensing easier for councils is not the answer.

“No criminal landlord ever makes themself known willingly. Licensing only increases the time councils spend administering the scheme when they could instead be devoting those resources to finding criminal landlords.”

While opposing licensing the RLA welcomes the report’s calls for more public sector land to be freed up for the development of new private rental properties.

Independent research for the RLA has found 46% of landlords would be interested in developing new housing on smaller plots of unused public sector land if it were already identified and made available for such development.

Mr Ward added: “We welcome the focus that the Commission has on boosting the supply of homes to rent. Ultimately it is only by tackling the housing shortage that high rents can be addressed.

“It is vital though that any moves to increase the supply of rental housing recognises that the vast majority of landlords are, and will continue to be, individuals rather than big corporate bodies.”

In March 2015 the Government announced plans to ensure councils have to seek permission from the Government where they want to introduce a landlord licensing scheme covering more than 20% of their areas. For information click here.

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About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Media and Communications Officer for the RLA. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

2 Comments

  • As a landlord I am totally opposed to the scheme – I have suffered at the hands of Newham Council where this scheme was trialled out. As a landlord I had no say in the development of this licensing scheme nor my feedback was included…in fact no consultation took place with the landlords, neither any focus groups were run to seek our views during the pilot stage!

    I found the whole process as one of bringing in extra funds to the pot without the use of legal means e.g when I bought my property about halfway down the year I discovered that I was charged for the previous 6/7 months when the property was owned by the previous landlord. The charge was for a 5 year period, when I am not even sure I will own the property for as long as that – refunds are not permitted by the council and neither payments are charged on a prorata basis.

    The previous landlord too was charged a fee for 5 years in advance when he owned the property for only half of the 1st year. So the council collected two licensing fees from two landlords for the same property and for the same time period!! I complained to the council and the ombudsman but got nowhere with my complaint. However I wasted a lot of my precious time sadly…

    All I can say is that the whole scheme is run on deceitful means and has been put in place to exploit and stress landlords.

  • This proves to me the selective license is about raising money from landlords not about helping tenants, all this is doing is raising rents,where is the money coming from to cover all these charges this is making more bad landlords.
    Reputable landlords are not given a chance
    This is not solving problems it is just making more
    This needs more common sense!!

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