Government reject Brent Council application to extend licensing scheme

Government reject Brent Council application to extend licensing scheme

14:49 PM, 27th February 2020, About 4 years ago 15

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The RLA has welcomed the Government’s rejection of an application by Brent Council to extend its licensing scheme for privately rented housing.

This follows a similar ruling last month when an application by Liverpool City Council to renew its citywide landlord licensing scheme was rejected.

The Residential Landlords Association argues that such licensing schemes are ineffective and are brought in by councils who want to be seen to be doing something to tackle criminal landlords without actually doing anything to root them out. Local authorities are also accused by the RLA of using licensing schemes as a cash machine.

John Stewart, Policy Manager for the Residential Landlords Association, said:

“We all want to see bad landlords driven out of the sector. However, licensing is not the answer. All it does is identify the good landlords who register and then tax them. They do nothing to flush out the criminals who stay under the radar.

“Instead, councils should use the wealth of data they can already access to find landlords and target resources to properly enforce the wide range of powers they have to deal with unsafe and sub-standard rented housing.”

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9:24 AM, 28th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Good news to hear - those nasty buggers at Brent...


9:35 AM, 28th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Could this be applicable to Coventry?

Michael Bond

10:44 AM, 28th February 2020, About 4 years ago

But what happens to the tenants whom the "bad landlords" house? Many of them are "bad tenants" whom no "good landlord" would want to touch.


10:49 AM, 28th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Waltham Forest also has this licencing scheme. It was implemented in 2015 and was for 5 years which means we have to renew this year at a cost of £250 each licence. Would this ruling apply there as well?


10:53 AM, 28th February 2020, About 4 years ago

I wonder if this would also apply to Croydon which is due for renewal soon

David Lawrenson

12:50 PM, 28th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Each case is different and assessed on its merits

13:13 PM, 28th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Government might finally be starting to apply the law as the 2004 Housing Act was intended. The selective licencing was meant to be for troubled streets, not the whole borough.
It was also intended to be used as a last resort after all other alternatives had been tried. When you ask the council for what the alternatives are they have tried, you get blank looks - so obviously using it as a tool of first implementation.
Schemes are meant to be based upon factual evidence. Whenever you pick through this 'evidence' that has been presented, most of it is unsubstantiated opinion. It has no statistical methodology and wholes in its assessment the size of football fields.
That is a major reason why liverpool council was rejected as the basic facts upon which the scheme relied upon were nonsense - ie the whole of Liverpool is a deprived area.
With regards to renewing like Croydon, other problems come up. By what measure has a scheme been successful, what are the metrics? If the scheme has been successful and rooted out bad landlords, why does it need to continue?
If the scheme has been unsuccessful, why continue with something that doesn't work? Why are alternatives not being considered which should have been in the first place?
Croydon called an emergency council meeting to push the scheme through days before the 2015 Deregulation Act ment proper consideration had to be given to the matter. The whole justification at the meeting was they were a locally elected body and wouldn't be told by central government what they could and couldn't do - facts be damned.

It has been a cashcow. For Croydon, it has raised in excess of £16m over 5 years - don't know a single landlord that has been inspected by council. Councils are addicted to the revenue, and financial penalities going to the council create a huge incentive to have the schemes in place.
In the case of Lewisham Council 'consulting' on the matter, they have been advertisting for enforcement officers to administer the selective licensing scheme before the consultation even closed. It is obvious the outcomes are predetermined.
If you pick apart Lewisham council 'evidence', it is supposition with no supported facts. Even when you look at the data presented, it actually shows the vast majority of the problems are caused by owner-occupiers, not tenants (but never lets facts get in the way of a good cash-cow).
What is really needed is a judicial review to end these brough wide schemes. They are an abuse of the legislation and its intent, the consultations are farcical and don't meet the parameters as laid out in the 2004 Housing Act. Yet they keep coming.

David Lawrenson

13:22 PM, 28th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Superbly and succinctly put, Luke

Mark Shine

19:36 PM, 28th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Unless anyone can advise otherwise, although the ‘selective’ licensing scheme may or may not be renewed, Brent’s borough wide ‘additional’ HMO scheme which has recently been renewed for another 5 years is still valid? To give an example, even a two bed flat that is let to a couple and an unrelated single friend is *still* very much a licensable ‘additional’ HMO in Brent as it has been since 2015?

Mark Shine

20:56 PM, 28th February 2020, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke Roxberg at 28/02/2020 - 13:13
AFAIK Brent’s ‘selective’ scheme was selective and *not* borough wide, unlike their ‘additional’ licensing scheme, which most certainly was (and is) borough wide. I’m hoping that someone can prove me wrong? Anyone? Pretty pleeeaase...

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