The RLA has registered its objections to Boston’s proposals to implement two borough-wide landlord licensing schemes, following a consultation by the local authority.
The schemes would see every landlord require a licence for every property they owned, and every HMO property require a licence for rent.
The RLA has several areas of concern in regards to licensing, including;
- Licensing entails a huge bureaucracy and much time, effort and expense is taken up in setting up and administering these schemes; rather than spending it on the ground and flushing out criminal landlords.
- Increasingly, discretionary licensing is being misused to fund cash strapped housing enforcement services. The recent Westminster sex shop Court of Appeal (Hemming (t/a Simply Pleasure) Limited v Westminster City Council) has brought such funding into question. Indeed, Ipswich has become the first local authority to refund licensing fees to landlords, as a result of the Court of Appeal case.
- Discretionary licensing is not being used for its intended purpose of a short period of intensive activity; rather it is being used by the back door to regulate the PRS for the sake of exercising control.
- The level of fees which are ultimately passed on to tenants to pay is a major worry so far as it affects landlords.
- Despite high fee levels local authorities still lack the will and resources to properly implement licensing.
- Little has been done to improve property management. Opportunities to require training have been ignored. As always it has become an obsession with regard to physical standards with very detailed conditions being laid down. No action is taken against criminal landlords.
- The RLA believes that a significant number of landlords are still operating under the radar without being licensed.
- As always it is the compliant landlord who is affected by the schemes. They pay the high fees involved but do not need regulation of this kind.
- Licensing is not being used alongside regeneration or improvement of the relevant areas. Insufficient resources are being employed to improve the areas.
Can you help?
The RLA will endeavour to respond to any licensing scheme consultations that it becomes aware of. We have benefitted from members highlighting where these schemes may be proposed, so if you are aware of any such proposals please do not hesitate to contact the RLA campaigns team.
Email in at email@example.com to tell us more.