Landlords with rental properties in Hastings are being encouraged to have their say on plans to renew a selective licensing scheme in Hastings.
The council is proposing to introduce a scheme requiring landlords to licence all privately rented flats and houses that are occupied by one household (i.e. single persons or couples, or one family) in the 6 wards of Braybrooke, Castle, Central St Leonards, Gensing, Old Hastings and Tressell.
The RLA has opposed the proposals, for several reasons.
One reason for this is because the council already has existing enforcement powers which they should use to tackle poor housing conditions and management, such as civil penalty notices and banning orders.
The RLA argues that the council should make use of these enforcement powers rather than introduce a licensing scheme.
Little evidence to show licensing schemes improve housing standards
The RLA is also concerned that when licensing schemes are in place, the focus of staff becomes the processing and issuing of licences, rather than management standards and property conditions.
There is little evidence to show that licensing schemes improve housing standards, and in its consultation response the RLA have highlighted a number of alternatives to licensing. For example, the council could use council tax records to identify private rented properties ad landlords. Unlike licensing, this would not require self-identification by landlords, resulting it being harder for the small minority of criminal landlords to operate under the radar.