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.”
- The Housing and Planning Bill can be found in full at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2015-2016/0075/16075.pdf. The explanatory note to go with it is available at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2015-2016/0075/en/16075en.pdf.
- 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.
- Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, dubbed many landlord licensing schemes a “tenants tax” in March 2015. His comments can be read at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ending-the-tenant-tax-to-help-tackle-rogue-landlords.