Minister of State for Housing and Planning for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Brandon Lewis, has written to Local Authorities about revisions to Selective Licensing schemes. New stipulations, coming into force on 1st April, will prevent Local Authorities from being able to create ‘blanket’ schemes on privately rented properties.
Private landlords have been subjected to increasing numbers of licensing schemes as Local Authorities assess how best to regulate a growing Private Rented Sector (PRS). However, new rules will require these Local Authorities to gain approval from the Secretary of State for any selective licensing scheme which would cover more than 20% of their geographical area or would affect more than 20% of privately rented homes in the local authority area.
The RLA has welcomed the publication of draft government proposals that seek to restrict the scope of selective licensing schemes. More and more councils are turning to authority wide schemes that require private landlords to pay for a licence for each property they let. The draft regulations wold force councils to meet an additional range of conditions relating to the number of PRS properties in an area, poor housing conditions, migration, deprivation and crime. The RLA has always opposed blanket licensing schemes, that are more about creating council jobs than improving standards and tackling criminal operators in the PRS.