Housing Minister has reduced powers of Councils to licence landlords

Housing Minister has reduced powers of Councils to licence landlords

12:36 PM, 12th March 2015, About 7 years ago 21

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NLA logo colourLocal councils will no longer have the clout to licence landlords across a whole borough or city after Brandon Lewis, the Minister of State for Housing and Planning announced reforms of Selective Licensing, restricting local decision-making powers. The changes are to come into force on 1 April 2015.

Since 2010, local councils have had the power to licence landlords across an entire borough or jurisdiction in order to combat issues such as anti-social behaviour in so-called ‘hotspot areas’. This has led to a sharp increase in the number of schemes being introduced.

However, today’s changes mean that councils will require government approval before implementing a licensing scheme if they plan to license a large area or proportion of the market likely to be above 20% of either the geographical area covered by the council or the local private rented sector (PRS).

The decision comes after sustained lobbying efforts by the National Landlord Association (NLA) since 2010 and after the NLA published its report on the state of landlord licensing across the country, in February. The report points to a boom in the number of blanket licensing schemes since 2010 but highlights a lack of enforcement actions being taken by local councils. It also shows a correlation between the political control of a council and their tendency to license landlords.

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the NLA said:

“We’ve argued solidly since 2010 that councils have been abusing their power to push through blanket licensing schemes.  Today’s announcement means that if a council intends to licence a large proportion of its housing it will first need to show the case stands up to independent scrutiny.

“The Government was the first to see a copy of our licensing report, and we’re delighted they have listened to our case because at present the driving force behind licensing landlords seems to be the political will of a given local council, regardless of the evidence.

“Many local councils won’t like this decision one bit because until now they’ve been their own judges, and the only way for landlords to challenge them has been through the difficult and complex route of judicial review.

“Landlords are getting fed up with being unfairly targeted and made responsible for problems such as anti-social behaviour when in reality they have little effective control over the issue, except by eviction. Hopefully this now means that councils who are serious about tackling poor property standards and anti-social behaviour will first look to the extensive existing legal powers they already have to combat the issues”.



Comments

by John Daley

17:07 PM, 17th March 2015, About 7 years ago

OK then I refer you to the maps in our licensing proposal which indicate the incidence of ASB.

I'm sorry but the idea that the property market in Southwark would be blighted or even affected by licensing is ludicrous. All across the borough there is substantial investment in all sorts of property regeneration and particularly residential. Both rents and housing prices have been growing strongly and demand substantially outstrips supply.

If I were interested in property investment I would specifically be selecting the worst (and therefore cheapest) properties in areas where there is high and increasing demand. There is clear evidence that areas that have for many years been seen as run down are now regenerating and both commercial and residential property is improving.

If Savills rate Southwark as one of the best residential investment returns in the UK then perhaps I might take their analysis over yours.

by Mark Alexander

17:10 PM, 17th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "17/03/2015 - 17:07":

Time will tell.
.

by Tom Fielding

19:15 PM, 17th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Liverpool City council are going ahead on the 1st April with there selective licensing scheme (stuff what the minister says) and you must have a licence for each individual property at £400 for the first and £200 for each remaining property for 5 years ,£100 per property to be paid by the end of April and the balance to be paid by the end of the year ,the paper work I don't mind as my 9 propertys have there relevant certificates its the the fees I object too ,it's the same old story penalise the good landlords because the bad one will allways find a way of not conforming,and how many staff will they be employing to police it (probley 1 or 2 ) estimates are 50'000 propertys to join the scheme .

by Alex Russell

10:26 AM, 18th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tom Fielding" at "17/03/2015 - 19:15":

Tom, I have to pay £1,450 for 4 property's in Liverpool. And what for? Like you say the good landlords are ripped off by the bad ones. It just another money making scheme. We get council tax bills if the property is empty for a day, now another tax for the privilege of trying to house people. Do you think the bad landlords will comply? And will the 1 or two people chasing them really be able to find them all, in the whole city!?
Every time I think I have turned the corner and actually might turn a profit and they take more.
I run my property portfolio to pay for someone sat in an office with a whole legal team behind them so if I don't pay they can come after everything I own in 30 days.
Eg. Ground rent, Maintenance company's, Council Officer, Management company's, Mortgage company's.

by Mandy Thomson

10:44 AM, 18th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Don't get me wrong, I recognise (as I'm sure most landlords do) that property letting has to comply with the law and best practice, just like any other responsible business offering services to the public, and I am aware that there are many areas in which landlords' knowledge and awareness needs to improve, even though as an industry we are far from the popular media image of the rogue landlord or the greedy fat cats who only want to fleece tenants. For landlords who don't have the time or inclination to self manage, there needs to be reliable and compliant letting agents they can turn to - also an area that needs improvement, though again, there are still many, many good letting agents.

However, the whole way that selective licensing is set up and administered is not going to achieve this - if it was there FOR landlords, and was genuinely raising standards and landlords' knowledge, then I'm sure organisations such as the NLA and RLA - who exist to promote letting standards, would be very much in favour.

by Tom Fielding

16:05 PM, 18th March 2015, About 7 years ago

I manage my own property's and do most maintenance myself with a call out within 24 hrs unless urgent then it's same day ,the council don't provide the same service yet I will have to give them £2000 for the privilege of saying I am a good landlord,maybe they should give us gold disc to put outside our property's to say we are good landlords,also if I sell any property's from the 2nd April there is no refunds from the fees allready paid.

by Kathy Brown

18:34 PM, 18th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mandy Thomson" at "17/03/2015 - 14:15":

Does this mean if they rush it through before the 1st April then it's ok and they can do it

by Monty Bodkin

20:39 PM, 18th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "17/03/2015 - 17:07":

I’m sorry but the idea that the property market in Southwark would be blighted or even affected by licensing is ludicrous.

Because property is still doing well despite your well meaning tinkering doesn't mean it isn't getting hammered by licensing and leaving the stench of it for years to come.

If I were interested in property investment I would specifically be selecting the worst (and therefore cheapest) properties

Probably best to stick to the day job John.

by Mandy Thomson

23:28 PM, 18th March 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Kathy Brown" at "18/03/2015 - 18:34":

No, hopefully not. I have just come from a meeting hosted by the NLA and Croydon Landlords - Gavin Dick made lots of really useful points and suggestions, and I'm going to another meeting tomorrow hosted by Constantinos Regus - no doubt he will be able to give me plenty of tips going forward.

I'll revert back by Friday, with updates from both meetings.

by Mandy Thomson

11:46 AM, 24th March 2015, About 7 years ago

I have set up a Facebook page, Landlords Against Licensing Croydon https://www.facebook.com/CroydonLandlordLicensing to consolidate information and communications around the campaign against Croydon's scheme.


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