Local Government London Regulation and Enforcement

Wandsworth Council rejects landlord licensing plan

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

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.”

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

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