Review of Selective Licensing announced

by Property 118

14:15 PM, 20th June 2018
About A year ago

Review of Selective Licensing announced

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Review of Selective Licensing announced

In addition to releasing the guide “Houses in multiple occupation and residential property licensing reform: guidance for local housing authorities” the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has today announced a review into selective licensing to find out how well it is working.

The review and its finding will be released some time next Spring 2019 and will include evidence from independent commissioners, local authorities and bodies representing agents, landlords, tenants and housing professionals.

According to LocalGov.co.uk “Selective licensing gives local housing authorities the power to make it compulsory for landlords renting out private accommodation in a specified area to have a licence.

The intention behind the scheme is to deliver improved standards and safety in the private rented sector by enabling councils to assess whether they consider a potential landlord to be ‘fit or proper’. The local authority is also able to make other stipulations concerning management of the property and appropriate safety measures.”

Evidence from our own readers in particular, Larry Sweeney in Liverpool, and Mick Roberts in Nottingham has been particularly damning regarding the implementation, costs and legality of Selective Licensing in their respective local authorities.



Comments

matchmade

10:46 AM, 26th June 2018
About A year ago

Would Property118 count as a body representing landlords?

Does anyone feel qualified to write a report based on the reported experience and opinions of contributors to this site?

It would be a lot of work to wade through all the threads that have discussed licensing over the last few years, so perhaps the best approach would be a summary report with recommendations, with an Appendix listing reported problems with licensing, ideally with documentary evidence. The latter could be assembled by the wider contributing community, to reduce the workload for the report writer.

The level of detail people go into on this site would arguably offer stronger evidence than the views of researchers or policy officers at the RLA or NLA who oversee the entire country. Obviously the fruitier comments would need to be toned down, to support landlords' case that licensing is an extremely expensive, bureaucratic and time-consuming way of achieving the stated aims of these schemes: it penalises good landlords, who are the vast majority, and their tenants; obliges the council to employ loads of administrators and EHOs to waste their time checking what are, ultimately, perfectly good rental properties; and it remains to be seen how many "rogue" landlords or tenants are being caught out by licensing, and whether this is cost-effective.

I sincerely hope that the Government will take any evidence from Councils with a large pinch of salt. Councils are bound to do everything they can to make their licensing schemes sound successful, for example by swamping their reports with statistics to show that hundreds of properties have been "improved" by licensing (for example through major achievements like obliging landlords to display their LGCs and HMO licenses in framed notices), whilst disguising the fact there's been a tiny number of prosecutions that could have been done anyway using existing legislation. Once established, bureaucracies like these licensing schemes will fight like the devil to justify their existence.

Neil Patterson

12:03 PM, 26th June 2018
About A year ago

I will have a look into your suggestion Tony.

As you say it may take a while, but I can start by just digging articles and comments out into a word document.

Paul Cunningham

12:35 PM, 26th June 2018
About A year ago

The problem with the NLA is they are supporting Gt Yarmouth councils attempt to introduce it. This undermines local landlords views.

Chris Daniel

23:55 PM, 26th June 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Cunningham at 26/06/2018 - 12:35
Would anyone like to predict the outcome of the Governments ( objective -sic ) review of Selective Licensing ?
Here's my thoughts ;
Bearing in mind - the majority of councils / L.A's have taken on extra staff, and that there are Licensing schemes only just starting into their 5 year term.
Plus, additional funds from those nasty landlords that everyone hates ( you know, the ones that are solving successive governments c*ck-ups in the housing market, - us ) is flowing into local government helping the lack of central funding, because they c*cked that up as well, calling it 'Austerity'.
Talk about being 'economical with the truth'. .... So, my prediction is England following Wales [ like its done with Homelessness ] and imposing country-wide licensing.

Old Mrs Landlord

7:14 AM, 27th June 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Daniel at 26/06/2018 - 23:55
If it has to come I would prefer a countrywide licensing scheme run centrally at reasonable cost rather than the piecemeal implementation of a random selection of differing nitpicking regulations at inflated cost to landlords that is delevoping now. I confidently predict the outcome of the "objective" review will show it to be a great success, just like in Newham - along the lines of "look how many landlords we've prosecuted, look how much money we've raised in fines from these dreadful rogues who failed to frame their displayed HMO certificates". Meanwhile the landlords with beds in sheds and immigrants sleeping ten to a room with no fire precautions will carry on regardless.

Annie Landlord

13:33 PM, 27th June 2018
About A year ago

I am very much in favour of a national register of landlords. I also think we should all have a dbs (criminal records check) certificate because a landlord should be a 'fit and proper person'..
50 pounds per annum from each landlord would cover the administration. But, as we all know, lazy councils just want money, money, money from landlords but do nothing to actively search out, prosecute and ban criminal landlords. Any form of licencing is pointless if councils don't step up to the plate. As for Newham, doesn't it have the highest percentage per capita of PRS properties in the country? It relies dramatically on the PRS to house its residents and then just slags off landlords.

Old Mrs Landlord

15:33 PM, 27th June 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 27/06/2018 - 13:33
I'd have no problem with what you suggest Annie. I have no more knowledge of Newham than what I've read in the press, landlord forums and trade publications so can't really comment further on that borough except to say that it's held up by other regions as an example of the success of licensing.

Chris Daniel

21:23 PM, 27th June 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 27/06/2018 - 13:33Annie,
The government could easily have created a National register of Landlords long ago, if they wanted. All they have to do is combine and intelligently use a number of data points, such as Council tax, HMRC, Deposits, Land Registry etc. . ( although the Govt doing anything intelligent with Housing is a big ask )
Yes they would get a National register with England-wide licensing but nobody should kid them selves that there'll be anything like a reasonable charge, let alone 50 quid. !
As I said, think of all the staff they've employed and justified their charges. [ L.A's. are a regional arm of central govt. and the proverbial only travels one way ]
Do you see the Gov saying to those L.A's charging the most, 'come on now chaps, lets play fair with those nice landlords' and even out your charges, reducing to the medium / average Licensing fee. ???
Call me a pessimist, but I don't see that happening anytime soon lol.

matchmade

16:53 PM, 29th June 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 27/06/2018 - 13:33
£50? You're being very optimistic about the likely costs. Look at how expensive it is just to obtain something as simple as a passport. The cost will be £300+, because they will expect landlords to pay for the IT system to set up the database, on top of ongoing staff costs, planned "improvements", and future expansion as once you go down this road, there is no end to it. The database will be tied into HMRC, we will be expected to submit accounts and pay income tax on a monthly basis, any expenditure will need to be justified with scanned and uploaded invoices: it will be remorseless.

But if you have to have a register of landlords, how about a national register of tenants too? Surely tenants need to take a training course and demonstrate they are "fit and proper" licensed persons too, to take on the responsibility of living in someone else's property? This would help reassure landlords, neighbours and co-tenants in houseshares/HMOs, and reassure insurance companies that the tenant doesn't have a prior conviction for arson . . .

However, I object to a criminal records check: there are millions of people with some kind of conviction, most of them minor, and once you start going down the road of requiring everyone to be registered for everything, there will be national ID cards and anyone who ever does anything remotely naughty will be tagged with that millstone for the rest of their life. A world of ever-proliferating and permanent data is being built, and alongside it, more and more surveillance, monitoring, identity-checking (and identity theft); I see few reasons why we should seek to encourage these trends, and plenty of reasons to resist them.

Gayle Tregaskis

11:36 AM, 3rd July 2018
About A year ago

If anyone wants to send me their licences, tribunal papers and decisions I would be grateful. Iwould like to see the paperwork that works.
I'm preparing appeal to Tribunal re several conditions, one being condition to inspect property every 6 months.
Many thanks
Gayle

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