The RLA is warning that a proposed selective licensing scheme in Salford would do little to improve housing standards.
Salford City Council is proposing to designate a Selective Licensing scheme in the Langworthy, Weaste and Seedley area of Salford.
If the scheme is approved, then private landlords in these three areas will be required to obtain a licence, and comply with the conditions of the licence.
The RLA is encouraging landlords in Salford to have their say in this important consultation, which is running until 8th May.
The RLA’s response
In the RLA’s formal response to the consultation, which you can read here, we have highlighted a number of concerns with the proposed scheme. These are outlined below.
Fee structure requires amendments
Salford City Council is proposing to charge £681 as a basic fee for a licence. In our response, we are warning that this fee is not taken in two parts, as required by Gaskin v Richmond.
Specifically, this is that the fees are split into Part A and Part B; Part A is for the processing of the application and part b is taken for the landlord when the licence is granted. We argue that should the scheme be approved, this aspect of the fee structure should be amended.
When tacit consent applies, it means that landlords will be able to act as though their application is granted if you have not heard from us by the end of the target completion period.
In the RLA’s response to this consultation, we have argued that in the consultation documents the council has made no mention in the ‘proposed fees’ section if tactic consent applies, should the processing of the licence go beyond the advertised times.
A timescale for the length of processing time for a licence application has also not been provided-again something which was highlighted in the Gaskin case.
The Council already has the necessary tools to tackle poor housing management and conditions in the PRS
In the RLA’s response, we also point out that the Council already has the necessary tools to tackle poor housing management and conditions in the private rented sector.
Councils already have enforcement powers granted to them by the Housing and Planning Act 2016, including rent repayment orders, civil penalties and banning orders. In our response we argue the council should make full use of the powers first, before introducing a selective licensing scheme.
Added to which, there is very little evidence to demonstrate that selective licensing schemes actually improve the standards of housing.
The focus of staff becomes the processing and issue of licences, while prosecutions centre on whether a property is licensed or not, rather than improving management standards and property conditions
This consultation is running until 8th May 2019, and the RLA is encouraging landlords in Salford to have their say in this important consultation.