The RLA has responded to a consultation run by Leicester City Council on plans to introduce a selective licensing scheme in the city.
Leicester Council ran an initial consultation for several weeks to seek the views of residents and stakeholders, including landlords, on introducing selective licensing in the city.
The Council is proposing on introducing licensing in the areas of
Braunstone Park and Rowley Fields, Castle, Fosse, Stoneygate, Westcotes and Saffron.
The RLA’s response
In the RLA’s response to this consultation, which you can read here, we have opposed plans to introduce selective licensing in Leicester ,for several reasons.
Council should make use of existing enforcement powers
Leicester Council already has the necessary tools to tackle poor housing management and conditions in the private rented sector, and the RLA believes that the council should make full use of these powers before introducing a ‘bureaucratic’ licensing scheme.
Such powers include civil penalties, rent repayments orders and banning orders.
Research published last year by the RLA’s research arm, PEARL, reveals that Councils are not making use of such enforcement powers in order to tackle the issue of criminal landlords. Following the introduction in April 2017 of new powers for councils to issue civil penalties against landlords failing to provide acceptable housing, in 2017/18 our research found that 89% of local authorities did not use these new powers.
In our response to the consultation run by Leicester City Council, we also raise concerns that introducing a licensing scheme in Leicester could mean that landlords in this area become risk averse in terms of the tenants they let to.
Landlords, especially those with properties outside the licence area will become risk averse in terms of the tenants they let to. This is because issues such as anti-social behaviour is hard for tenants to address alone, and landlords may not want to risk breaching a licensing condition so may become selective in terms of who they rent to.
This consultation is now closed, and the RLA will provide members with an update on the next steps of this consultation.