Landlord licensing schemes grow - as does opposition

AFS Team·10 April 2014·4 min read
Landlord licensing schemes grow - as does opposition
Controversial landlord licensing schemes which compel landlords to sign up with their local authority to be monitored and to ensure they meet minimum standards are on the increase but so is a growing chorus of disapproval.

Enfield Council in London is the latest to agree a scheme after Newham began the trend in January to improve standards in the private rented sector and encourage landlords to take a proactive approach in maintaining their properties and dealing with anti-social behaviour.

Since its launch, the scheme in Newham has seen more than 30,000 landlords apply and the council has now prosecuted 134 landlords for breaches of the rules.

Newham’s selective landlord licensing scheme

Council officers have also issued more than 5,000 warning letters and 82 cautions for first offences while turning down 100 applications from landlords since the scheme began.

In addition, officers have also visited nearly 2,000 properties that have not been licensed and are spending time and money in tracking down errant landlords who have not yet signed up.

Following in the footsteps of Newham Council is Liverpool who want to improve standards in the city with a similar selective licensing scheme.

However, unlike Newham councillors in Liverpool are not pointing to the tackling of anti-social behaviour as being their main reason for implementing a scheme.

Opposition to Liverpool’s selective landlord licensing scheme

The National Landlords Association is urging landlords and tenants in Liverpool to unite and work together in a bid to prevent the selective licensing scheme taking off there.

The NLA's Liverpool representative, Tom Reynolds, said: “The council isn't doing enough to make tenants and landlords aware there is a live consultation in progress and they can have their say - even though it started a week ago.”

He added: “We still have no idea how a licensing scheme will address the issue of Liverpool's depopulation or how it would make the area more attractive.”

The latest organisation to throw its weight behind the campaign to reject a national mandatory landlord registration scheme is the Country Land and Business Association.

CLA objects to national mandatory scheme for landlords

Henry Robinson, the CLA's president, said: “Like the Department for Communities and Local Government, we agree that a national register of landlords in England would cost more than £40 million a year and be a financial burden.

“A mandatory landlord registration scheme would be unworkable since the costs of it would be passed onto tenants and it's also unclear what such a register would achieve.”

Other councils who have implemented licensing schemes include Blackburn who have schemes in parts of their area while other councils including Nottingham, Brent and Sandwell are considering similar schemes.

Not every proposed scheme gets the go-ahead, however, with councillors sitting on Milton Keynes Council being dissuaded by city landlords from implementing a scheme recently and others are also organising objections and campaigns.