Luton are hosting a Landlord Forum on Tuesday 25th July 2017, 18:00 – 20:00, at the Town Hall, 1st Floor Committee Room 2. The RLA’s Policy Manager, John Stewart, will be attending this event to discuss our views on Luton’s proposed licensing scheme – see you there!
This week Luton Council announced the start of a Selective Licensing Consultation. Luton has proposed this licensing scheme in five of its wards, the consultation ends Friday 15th September 2017.
Selective Licensing was introduced under the Housing Act 2004. The Housing Act 2004 says that before introducing selective licensing to any area local Councils must consult with all affected people, such as tenants, residents, landlords, managing agents, businesses, Police, Fire Service, local Councillors etc.
Selective Licensing applies to all private rented sector houses that are not licensed under HMO licensing, this includes non licensable HMOs. An area may be designated for selective licensing either (i) if the area is (or is likely to be) an area of low housing demand or (ii) the area is experiencing a significant and persistent problem caused by anti social behaviour that local authorities attribute to private sector landlords failing to take action to combat against unruly tenants. A designation can last up to five years.
Alongside the licence fees, landlords will also have to declare that they are a fit and proper person to hold a licence and holders of the licence will be required to comply with licensing conditions, some of which are mandatorily imposed by the Housing Act, and local licensing conditions from the council itself.
Luton list the reasoning behind this proposal as poorly managed, overcrowded, unsafe accommodation. Alongside a problem with anti-social behaviour, poor quality rented housing and, landlords they describe as “irresponsible and unscrupulous” causing unstable communities due to having “no interest in the community and often rent(ing) to tenants who are not properly vetted” so areas become less attractive.
The wards that are being considered for this licensing scheme are; South, Biscot, Dallow, High Town, and Farley. The council have not set a proposed fee structure, which is ill-advised, however Luton Council claim that it will be similar to the fee structure in place for their Additional Licensing scheme. The fees for this scheme are £110 per house plus £110 per bedroom. The RLA will be questioning the council on their failure to properly announce the fees they are proposing to charge landlords
We urge our members to make an official response to this consultation, to get their views, opinions, and experiences heard by the council and to ensure landlords are represented in the council’s decision making process. The RLA responds to all local government consultations, our responses can be found here. Our response to Luton will be published but if you would like any advice about making an official consultation response in the meantime, do not hesitate to get in touch.
All the consultation information can be found on Luton’s website here.
To keep up to date with news, licensing, events, and information on Luton Council visit the new and improved Local Authority Network here.