0:05 AM, 24th February 2023, About A year ago
Licensing is not the best way to improve standards across the private rented sector, according to an industry body.
Propertymark says that although local authorities exist to improve housing stock in their area, their aspirations are’often overambitious’ but under resourced.
And while good landlords are paying a hefty price, criminal landlords continue to operate under the radar due to lack of enforcement because of inadequate staffing levels.
Tim Thomas, Propertymark’s policy and campaigns officer, said: “One of the largest licensing scheme proposals is in Brent, which will cover borough-wide and operate in 21 of the 22 wards. The PRS is huge in Brent making up 45.6% of total housing stock.
“In total, there are around 50,000 PRS properties within the scope of the scheme so to base an estimate on one staff member visiting three properties per day, it would take over 50 years to complete checks on every property.”
He says that is ‘a completely unrealistic number to ensure were compliant’.
Another concern around the local authorities resources is the time taken for them to process licenses and their ability to deal with the administraion which is leaving many landlords frustrated and uncertain around their entitlements whilst their applications are being processed. A Tower Hamlets consultation took months, according to members.
Hefty fees for five-year licenses such as £652 per property and up to £1,215 per property for landlords with Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) have been proposed by some authorities making costs for landlords who own several properties substantial.
However, councils such as Merton have acknowledged the high cost for these landlords and offer discounts for multiple licenses within one unit in their proposed scheme.
Some local authorities are also acknowledging the difference being part of an accredited organisation makes.
Landlords are much more likely to be clued up on the requirements asked of them through their own personal membership of a body or group or by using an agent who is a member of an organisation.
Mr Thomas added: “We will continue to engage with all levels of politics and government to ensure local authorities are targeting their scarce resources appropriately and good agents and landlords are not burdened with overzealous licensing schemes.”