The RLA has welcomed news that Wandsworth Council has abandoned plans to introduce landlord licensing.
At a meeting to discuss the issue the authority noted that as there had been a reduction in the number of complaints about PRS homes and a high level of tenant satisfaction there was no evidence to justify bringing in additional or selective licensing.
As an alternative it has come up with a 10-point plan to tackle criminal landlords and regulate the PRS using existing powers. These are:
- Prioritising housing enforcement in the three wards with the highest volume of complaints (Furzedown, Graveney and Tooting wards)
- Setting up targeted action days
- Streamlining administration support so officers can concentrate on landlord / tenant activity
- Improving information and advice on the council’s website
- Reviewing processes for serving legal notices
- Improving training and development for staff on new legislation
- Refocusing resources on higher priority complaints and investigations
- Setting up a new landlord / letting agent forum and update newsletters
- Improving use of IT systems
- Improving information sharing and joint working with planning and housing benefits
The RLA has long advocated the use of existing powers to tackle issues within the PRS as an alternative to introducing costly licensing schemes that only serve to punish good landlords while criminals remain under the radar.
David Smith, Policy Director at the RLA said: “It is really good to see a council considering a range of options around landlord regulation rather than defaulting to licensing.
“The Housing Act 2004 offers a range of flexible powers to Councils and this range will shortly be widened with changes in the Housing and Planning Act; Local Housing Authorities should take a risk-based approach and focus their powers on directly addressing the real problems in the Private Rented Sector. It is good to see that Wandsworth has done this.”