The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has told Hastings Council that licensing of private rented properties will not solve issues of anti-social behaviour (ASB). Consultation documents produced by Hasting Borough Council make comparisons between Hastings and ‘similar’ council areas. However RLA analysis shows that in the only area with a Selective Licensing scheme, incidents of ASB increased.
A list of 13 comparable Councils was drawn up to prove that Hastings suffers from an above average level of ASB incidents, but the majority of councils looked at do not have licensing schemes in operation. Of the three councils that do have licensing in place, only Thanet is running a ‘Selective Licensing’ scheme, as proposed by Hastings. Thanet has actually seen an increase in the number of ASB incidents reported to the police in the last year, further proving that licensing schemes are ineffective at tackling issues of ASB.
2012 ASB figures for Thanet report 6,502* incidents reported to the police. 2013 figures are 305 higher, with 6,807 incidents reported to the police. The RLA has consistently argued that licensing is ineffective as landlords cannot be held responsible for tenants’ behaviour. Councils and police should use existing enforcement tools to take action against those who make life a misery for their neighbours
This is backed-up by a House of Commons Library document which states:
“As a general rule, landlords are not responsible for the actions of their tenants as long as they have not ‘authorised’ the anti-social behaviour. Despite having the power to seek a court order for eviction when tenants exhibit anti-social behaviour, private landlords are free to decide whether or not to take action against their tenants. The question of whether a landlord can be held liable for the nuisance of its tenants has been considered in a number of cases.” (“Anti social neighbours in private housing” (2013) House of Commons Library, p.3, para.1.1. )
Licensing should only be considered if all other possibilities have been exhausted. The Council should revisit figures and heavily contemplate whether or not Selective Licensing will have the desired effect.
- *Proposed Selective Licensing Scheme for Hastings & St Leonards Section 4.3 Anti-Social Behaviour reported to the Police page 6