Landlord Licensing Schemes – Raising Standards or Raising Funds?

by Mark Alexander

9:41 AM, 9th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Landlord Licensing Schemes – Raising Standards or Raising Funds?

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Landlord Licensing Schemes – Raising Standards or Raising Funds?

WARNING – this article might make you want to cry, it might make you want to laugh and it will probably make you angry, and for many different reasons depending on who you are. Licensing - Raising Standards or Raising Funds?

This is one of those articles which I would like to be read by every landlord, every letting agent, every tenant and especially every Politician.

I would also like every person who reads this article to leave a comment, share it and help turn it into a HUGE debate.

So what is it all about?

My friend Mary Latham recently wrote a book about the storm she see’s brewing which is heading towards the Private Rented Sector with potentially catastrophic consequences. One of the chapters in Mary’s book is called “Raising Standards or Raising funds”.

There have been many discussions about the effectiveness of licensing which is being introduced into the PRS in it’s various forms and on many occasions, landlords have concluded that licencing has very little to do with raising standards and more to do with Local Authorities raising funds to create “jobs for the boys”

Well you may be pleased to hear that the DCLG have asked Local Authorities to complete a survey about licencing. Have they read Mary’s book one wonders?

When I heard about the survey, intrigue and curiosity got the better of me – what questions were the DCLG asking?

To my surprise,  I managed to get hold of a link to the survey questionnaire, DCLG had used ‘open source’ software for their survey. Being the curious type I obviously felt compelled to take a look, fully expecting to be met with a security screen where I would have to enter a User Name and Password to get any further. I’d have given up at that point as there’s no way I would attempt to hack a Government website. To my surprise though, there was no security! They were using Survey Monkey and that awoke the little monkey in me.

To see the questions being asked I needed to complete the page I was looking at to get to the next set of questions, so I began to fill it in. This is the point at which my curiosity transformed into mischief as I was having a lot of fun with my answers 😉

Here was my opportunity to tell the DCLG what I really think about landlord licencing in the most cynical and mischievous way possible. What an opportunity!

Now before you think about attacking me with some “holier than though” type comments, please remember the DCLG are responsible for the drafting of all of the legislation which has caused the PRS so much grief. Anyhow, enough said on that, it’s done now.

I took screen shots of every page I completed and I have put them together in a slideshow below.

Do take a look and whether you laugh or cry and for whatever reason you get angry, please post a comment or join in the discussion below this article 😉

If I mysteriously disappear, you might just find me at the Tower of London LOL

I hope you will appreciate the irony of my answers!

[thethe-image-slider name=”Raising Funds or Raising Standards”]

Note for tenants – More licensing = higher rents!


Sharon Betton

14:16 PM, 14th August 2013
About 7 years ago

When invited on the BBC teatime programme last year and asked about "Rogue" landlords and whether further steps were required to tackle the problem, my reply was that we have the legislation already in place. With fines and costs claimed against the truly bad landlords, they should be able to be self-funding. Instead they bring in schemes which are not targetted at the bad but put all landlords on the same footing. ASB as a reason for licensing seems lame when consideration is given to the amount that social landlords are paying in staff costs to tackle the problem - but then, social landlords do not have to pay for licensing, do they?

Kev Brooke-stowe

17:00 PM, 14th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Hello again honest Paul the only one on here to really say how it is. Keep up your posts, they are great reading.Kev

Colin McNulty

21:08 PM, 14th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Looking at my local council's HMO License page may answer your question. Here are the first 2 lines:

> Houses in Multiple Occupation – Apply for a licence
> You can apply on line, paying with credit or debit card

I'll leave it to you to work out what's foremost in their mind.

Charls Wastten

7:30 AM, 15th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Well, Interesting article and glad to read this about survey on landlord schemes. And also like to know about warning system.


16:30 PM, 25th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Raising standards or raising funds? That's soooooooo easy.

The law already allows local authorities to take action against bad landlords and the tenants can easily take small claims action and be almost guaranteed to win, so the answers have to be in order of importance:-

1 To raise funds
2 To raise more funds
3 To raise even more funds
4 To bleed the landlord for all the authority can get
5 Raise yet more funds

I won't even bother with numbers 6 to one billion on the list......

Can anyone prove otherwise??

Joe Pearson

16:59 PM, 4th September 2013
About 7 years ago


I totally agree with previous reader: just a money grabbing scheme by desperate Councils that have seen the central government cutting their subsidies by 40%.

Although the licensing schemes are not supposed to be used for anything else than "improving the Private Rented Sector" by the "benevolent and surely very competent (Joke)!" interventions by the Council employees... I would not be surprised the licensing fees will be very welcome to fill the numerous gaps left by their incompetent management of finances.

Please alert the readers that Haringey Council are currently running a "Consultation" until the 10th October to try and extend the licensing to even small HMOs, asking questions in such a way as to imply that there are a number of problems in Haringey all caused by HMOs... and the only way to tackle this problem is by the Council having more HMO licensing.

This is the link to their questionnaire:

It is important to express our views and stop this (and by the way if you respond that you think there are fly-tipping problems, drunks in the street, and that you think that it is the Landlords and Agents responsibility to look after their properties... these apparently are arguments in favour of HMO licensing!!! so be careful the way you reply

John Daley

12:54 PM, 19th September 2013
About 7 years ago

Having looked through this trail there is a fair amount of diversity of opinion, mostly against. This is a LL website so that is to be expected.

We have a national situation where Councils are inclined to regulate, because Government tells them to and because the Councils are responding to the evidence they see all the time of tenants who are injured, bullied, harrassed, and generally disadvantaged by their accommodation. They don't always seem to get the regulation schemes right and the LL's hate the admin and cost burden. OK so far we have a situation perfectly predictable with human nature

We also have a group of tenants who are bad and lots of good LL have their lives and businesses ruined by their residents.

I think that 70+% of the LL are good to OK, I can prove that because something like 40% of private lets last more than 3 years. There are lets say 20% of LL who are ineffective because they are lazy or indifferent and there are a few who are genuinely bad people.

I also recognise that more and more families are in this sector for longer, because there is little social housing or they can't afford to buy. For these people longer lets are a good thing because they plan their lives and kids education. This sector will be come more and more important as numbers of lets rise and the problems become more obvious.

The voluntary system of regulation is not working and every rational observer can see that. I also think that all the powers needed are already in place so we don't need any new laws. Though I have to say that I think the Government will put forward new legislation in the next year to force new regulation of the sector.

So I am inclined to ask the reader how we should address this, if there has to be licensing / accreditation, and I think there will have to be, what should it look like and how do you want it to work.

What do you think ?

Mark Alexander

14:08 PM, 19th September 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "19/09/2013 - 12:54":

Very interesting post and YES I have proposed alternatives which are being considered by the Housing Minister and several other MP's and centres of influence. With any luck we will see the first trial before the end of this year. Please see details here >>>

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