The Government has announced a review into the use and effectiveness of selective licensing.
The review, announced today by the MHCLG, will see independent commissioners gather evidence from landlord associations, such as the RLA, as well as local authorities, tenants and other housing professionals.
The Government says that the findings of the review will be reported in the Spring, with an update on the progress of the review can be expected in Autumn this year.
In areas where selective licensing in place, landlords must apply for a licence in order to rent out a property. For a local authority to declare a selective licensing area the area must be:
- An area of low housing demand and/or
- An area affected by anti-social behaviour where the private landlords have failed to take steps to control anti-social behaviour by their tenants.
The RLA believes selective licensing in not the most effective way to improving housing standards. This is because good, law abiding landlords often have to pay a lot of money to obtain a licence, while criminal landlords ignore the rules and continue to operate ‘below the radar’.
Last year, Bournemouth Council rejected plans to introduce Selective Licensing in some areas of the town, after taking on board the concerns that were raised in a consultation on the proposals, including those of the RLA.
The RLA is calling for a Housing Court to be introduced, in order to speed up justice for landlords and tenants.
The new court would enable landlords and tenants to more swiftly access justice to uphold their contractual rights in respect of property possession and for action against landlords breaching the law.
The RLA aims to respond to consultations on Selective Licensing. You can read a recent response to Blackpool Council’s selective licensing consultation here, in which the RLA raises concerns that it could force up rents in the town.
You can read more of the RLA’s responses to local authority consultations on our website. If you know of any consultations in your area, then please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidance for landlords to further protect tenants
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has also published further guidance for landlords to further protect tenants from poor living conditions.
The guidance, which can be accessed here, includes further details on extending mandatory licensing to smaller HMOs and introducing minimum bedroom sizes as government continues to rebalance the relationship between tenants and landlords.
From 1 October 2018 any landlord who lets a property to five or more people – from two or more separate households – must be licensed by their local housing authority.