The Residential Landlords Association has written to Camden Council urging reconsideration of a borough-wide additional licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The Council’s Cabinet delegated responsibility for determining the scheme to its lead member for housing, meaning just one Councillor, Patricia Callaghan, has the final say on whether thousands of homes will require a licence to be legally let.
The consultation ended on 5th May, having been extended following the Enfield decision that councils must consult with those affected in neighbouring authorities. Cllr Callaghan is expected to take her decision tonight, despite the next Cabinet meeting being just next week.
The RLA argues that, with the Government committed to consulting on the extension of mandatory licensing conditions, Camden could be spending money on establishing a licensing regime that may become obsolete in a few months’ time.
RLA Policy Manager, John Stewart said,
“The Government has indicated its intention to extend the scope of mandatory licensing. It may be that any scheme introduced by Camden now will quickly be superseded by the Government’s new mandatory regime. Surely it would be better to delay a decision until the Government’s intentions are clearer?
“Licensing is expensive to establish and rarely achieves its stated objectives of raising standards and reducing anti-social behaviour. Good landlords will apply for licences, often passing on the cost to tenants as increased rent, while criminal landlords continue to operate outside the system, unchecked.
“Effective enforcement is essential if the worst conditions in the PRS are to be tackled. With diminishing resources councils are cutting back on enforcement, meaning the criminals are rarely challenged.”