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New laws expose the tenants’ tax charged by councils

RLA
Written by RLA

Local councils are being urged to drop landlord licensing schemes following the publication of new laws showing that they are not needed. Measures in the Government’s new Housing and Planning Bill make clear that local authorities can use council tax registration forms to ask tenants for details of a properties’ tenure and its landlord to help root out criminal landlords. The RLA campaigned hard for this measure.

Local councils are being urged to drop landlord licensing schemes following the publication of new laws showing that they are not needed.

Measures in the Government’s new Housing and Planning Bill make clear that local authorities can use council tax registration forms to ask tenants for details of a properties’ tenure and its landlord to help root out criminal landlords. The RLA campaigned hard for this measure.

The Bill also includes powers for local authorities to use information held by statutory tenancy deposit schemes to enforce regulations affecting private rented housing.

The RLA is now calling on councils to drop licensing schemes given that the Bill makes clear that they can collect the information they need without levying expensive costs on landlords which inevitably get passed on to tenants in higher rents. The Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, previously dubbed such licensing a “tenants’ tax”.

Commenting on the development, RLA Policy Director, David Smith said:

“The Housing Bill makes clear that landlord licensing schemes are not needed and serve only as a money raising exercise by councils.

“Local authorities now have serious questions to answer. Why are they charging good landlords when they can collect the information they need to drive out criminal landlords using council tax registration forms for free.

“It’s time for councils to think again and bring to an end to the tenants’ tax once and for all.”

Further Information
  • Clause 87 of the Bill will enable local authorities to use information held by tenancy deposit schemes to enforce regulations affecting the private rented sector contained within the Housing Act 2004.
  • Clause 88 of the Bill will give the Secretary of State the power to make regulations to outline how councils can use data collected for council tax purposes. The Bill notes that local authorities can already use such data to enforce regulations affecting the private rented sector under the Housing Act 2004.

 

About the author

RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

6 Comments

  • We have a licensing scheme in Liverpool there are conditions such as, a requirement to tell the tenant when the bin collection day is (in a streets of terraced houses how else would they possibly know when binCollection day might be??? – perhaps a row of Wheely bins being put out and the sound of a bin wagon). Other useful conditions include the requirement to have gas appliances serviced every 12 months; a duplication of primary legislation! surely this is “Ultra Vires”.
    Quite simply, this is policing the policeable and taxing the lawful.
    let’s instead use technology to reveal who landlords are. Every rented house should be associated with the beneficiary landlord; The tax man, the council and everybody who wants to view the register should be able to. But this does not cost £500 for a five year permit. we can more easily be done under existing legislation. And, similarly, every tenant should be registered on the electoral register, or if in eligible to vote, on a non-voting register.

    • Local Authorities can barely look after their own tenants. Bringing in these schemes on the pretext of badly behaved private tenants is little more than a smoke screen for them further filling their coffers.

  • Croydon Council sent me a questionaire as part of their consultation process. I pointed out that they should go after the rogue landlords and not penalise the good landlords.
    I also see licensing as a money making exercise and I hope they abolish it soon.

  • I look forward to rent reductions in those areas where landlord licencing is dropped.

    Will be great to see landlords pass on cost savings to their tenants as they surely will.

  • Absolutely a money making exercise for councils. Too late for Croydon landlords… I’ve paid up to avoid penalty fines 150 times the charge of a license. Any way if they revoke the scheme of getting my money back… Ha!

  • This is yet another example of getting more money out of people who are up front and legal. The authorities, whether they be local or central government, go for the easy targets instead of the illegal landlords and tenants and non tax payers – they simply can’t go for people who live below the radar. The sooner this is abolished the better. Responsible landlords will always comply with the law with gas and electricity checks and deposit registration et al – rogue landlords will not. As previously mentioned, all these costs will be passed on to the tenants anyway.

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