A proposed licensing scheme in Slough would be an ‘unnecessary financial burden’ for landlords-the RLA has warned in its response to a consultation on the plans.
Slough Borough Council is proposing to introduce both selective and additional licensing schemes in areas of the town.
The proposed additional licensing scheme would apply to all of the borough, and would mean that landlords with Houses of Multiple Occupation, forming two or more households, but with fewer than five people, to be required to obtain a licence to rent out the property lawfully. The proposed cost of a licence is £750.
In addition to this, the council is planning on introducing a selective licensing scheme in the wards of Central and Chalvey. This means that landlords with properties in these areas would be required to obtain a licence in order to legally rent out the property. The proposed licence fee is £650.
The Council is currently consulting on these plans, and the consultation closes on 31st January 2019. The RLA has responded to this consultation, and has opposed these plans. You can read our full response here.
The RLA’s response
In the RLA’s response we have opposed these proposals, and we have raised a number of concerns we have. This includes:
- Concerns that the high cost of obtaining a licence will impact both landlords and tenants. In the RLA’s view, the high cost of obtaining a licence does nothing to address affordability. The RLA is concerned that to be able to afford this, landlords will be left with no choice but to pass on this cost to tenants, in the form of increase rents.
- Lack of evidence that licensing improves standards There is a lack of evidence that licensing schemes actually improve housing standards. Added to this, council staff will be more focussed on processing and issuing licences than improving management standards and property conditions. Additionally, the decent homes standard is a measure of the standard of housing and has no legal applicability to PRS housing. The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is the relevant standard for the PRS.
- There are alternatives to licensing. The council already has existing powers. The RLA believe that the councils should fully use the enforcement powers that were granted to them, by the Housing and Planning Act 2016. These powers include civil penalties, rent repayment orders and banning orders. Additionally, Slough Council has access to the Controlling Migration Fund, which allows local authorities to tackle local service pressures associated with any recently increased migration, which includes tackling rogue landlords and driving up standards
If you’re a landlord in Slough, the RLA is encouraging you to have your say on these proposals. You can read the proposals in full on the council’s website, and to have your say take the questionnaire here.