0:01 AM, 30th May 2023, About 4 months ago 9
In a call that will cause dismay among landlords in the capital, one organisation is urging for MORE devolved licensing powers to be handed to London’s councils.
A think tank called Centre for London has published a report entitled: ‘Licence to Let: How property licensing could better protect private renters’.
The report says that the government’s Renters’ Reform Bill offers a huge opportunity in boosting renters’ rights across the UK.
And it points to the Bill’s proposals for a ‘Property Portal’ – also known as a national landlord register – which aims to provide tenants with greater transparency regarding their landlords’ identities.
The report’s author says: “This Portal is far from enough to deal with London’s housing issues by itself.
“The government needs to make sure their Portal complements local authorities’ efforts to enforce standards and support tenants.”
To achieve this, several key recommendations are being made for the government to consider:
One of those supporting the call to the government to grant councils greater autonomy in policing private rented sector housing is the Mayor of Newham, Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz OBE.
Newham prides itself as a ‘trailblazing pioneer of PRS licensing’ in the UK and is a ‘passionately advocate for power to be decentralised to local authorities’.
The council also backs the report’s call for increased funding to enhance enforcement measures.
The Mayor said: “As the national frontrunner in private rented sector (PRS) licensing, Newham has successfully implemented licensing schemes since 2013.
“This initiative has empowered our council to combat the most egregious ‘rogue landlords’ who exploit vulnerable residents amid a housing market that is undeniably fractured.”
She continued: “Despite its undeniable success, our council has been burdened with the arduous task of seeking government approval for our scheme every five years since 2015.
“This cumbersome process is not only financially draining but also diverts precious resources and funding away from our primary mission of enforcing and improving housing standards.
Mayor Fiaz says that by devolving PRS licensing powers to local authorities like Newham, the PRS will be better regulated because they ‘possess intimate knowledge’ of the area’s housing markets.
Ms Fiaz is also calling for a substantial increase in trained staff and funding to ensure the ‘robust enforcement of PRS regulations’.
She adds: “Any proposed Property Portal for a National Landlord register, as outlined in the recent Renters’ Reform Bill proposals, must be thoughtfully designed to complement and work in synergy with local authority licensing schemes, rather than replacing them.”
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