Selective Licensing review disappointing – ARLA

Selective Licensing review disappointing – ARLA

8:17 AM, 26th June 2019, About 5 years ago 5

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David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark responds to the Government’s Selective licensing review commenting:

“It’s disappointing that the long-awaited review on Selective Licensing recommends the continuation of the schemes. Licensing schemes do not work, and never will. They are not an effective way of promoting higher quality accommodation and introducing landlord registration will not be the silver bullet to improve the effectiveness of property licensing. Local authorities need investment to enforce the wide range of legislation that already exists.

“For years we have called for an alternative to licensing. The Government should instead take this as an opportunity to introduce a Property MOT, which would cover all elements of property condition, energy efficiency and other legal requirements.”

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Seething Landlord

12:29 PM, 26th June 2019, About 5 years ago

So now we have arla calling for additional costs to be imposed on tenants, via the inevitable rent increases that will follow the introduction of a property MOT. Who do they think is going to carry out the inspections, at what frequency and at what cost? Where are all the qualified surveyors who would be required if such a system is to have any credibility at all? Perhaps they think it will be a nice little earner for their members but do they have any idea of the manpower required to carry out an additional 5 million surveys every year? The whole idea is completely bonkers so will probably be attractive to government.

Hamish McBloggs

17:22 PM, 26th June 2019, About 5 years ago

Some years back we 'stole' a tenant away from their landlord by being nice, flexible and listening.

Oh, and we offered a lovely newly decorated, safe property and adjusted the rent for an affordable long term view which turned out to be 5 year and another child before jobs moved.

We visited them at their previous address before we committed to offering them a tenancy.

A young couple with a 2 year old (or there abouts).

They were renting a room in a turn of the century property that was once a single dwelling but had been subdivided and subdivided in a manner that clearly showed zero concern for any regulation. Cast iron gutters falling off, clearly dodgy wiring with wiring extensions to the 'new rooms', a fuse board that had those 'knob type' ceramic fuses, a tiny shared kitchen with a fold down counter. To get to their room, the counter had to be folded up; difficult is someone else is eating. Zero security and a complete fire hazard. Brickwork clearly in need of attention and the chimney looking unsafe, dodgy names ...

The landlord would turn up and drive tenants to the cashpoint. No money was moved electronically. A day late or not in when he called would result in shouting and screaming. Tenancy agreements a fanciful notion.

When the couple and their child became our tenants I called the LA to shop the rogue landlord only to be told that there was no evidence and they couldn't take my word for it. As I remember, I was sarcastic in response and suggested something along the lines that they could get the body count from the fire brigade when the time comes.

A death trap house, a landlord that deals purely in cash that HMRC will never see and clearly an 'eff you threatening attitude. If caught he'll only have a fiver on him, assets will be owned by someone else and plead ignorance, tenants terrified etc ... nice car though.

This landlord operates under the radar using threats and coercion to keep tenants in line.

As long as people cannot afford rents in legitimate properties or have a slightly dodgy backstory and fail the standard of referencing we seek then this scum will continue to prey on the unfortunate.

and sadly this landlord would have a right to a defence if caught. In my minds eye I expect the 'punishment' would be a slap on the wrist and a bit of community service.

Can someone explain how licensing will improve his behaviour or properties?

How will his properties make the MOT list?

Hamish the bewildered

Michael Barnes

13:09 PM, 27th June 2019, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 26/06/2019 - 12:29
do they have any idea of the manpower required to carry out an additional 5 million surveys every year?

That is about 6,000 full-time surveyors.
(4 surveys a day; 40 working weeks a year)

Michael Barnes

13:34 PM, 27th June 2019, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Hamish McBloggs at 26/06/2019 - 17:22I've been pondering this, and the following would seem to be something that could target such landlords/properties (but I have not thought it through fully, so may be significant negatives).
1. All let or to be let properties to be registered with local authority.
2. A plaque to be displayed outside such a property indicating that it is registered and telling Ts where to find out about LL's and tenant's obligations.
3. Any property that is let without being registered or displaying the plaque to be taken over by the LA for 10 years.
3A. LA to collect and retain rents.
3B. LA to maintain and bring the property up to standard.
4. Property to be returned to owner at end of 10 years on payment of costs of bringing property up to standard, or sold and balance payed to previous owner.
5. Public education campaign to make public aware of such a law and to encourage them to report any property they suspect of being let without displaying the plaque.
6. Requirement for change of ownership of let property to be notified to LA.
7. Change of ownership to require new owner to register if letting to continue.
8. LA can monitor Land Registry to be alerted of sale of property.
9. Right of entry of LA to any registered property and to any unregistered property suspected of being let.
Such a scheme may need seed-money but should be self-financing for the first 10 years or so (after which it may no longer need much effort)

Monty Bodkin

9:07 AM, 28th June 2019, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 27/06/2019 - 13:34
I understand your frustrations Michael but giving local authorities even more power is not the answer. They already have huge powers.

In the scenario above, the LA wouldn't go after the difficult and time consuming rogue landlord, they'd prosecute Hamish instead for not hanging his good landlord plaque straight enough.

There is barely a scrap of evidence in this review proving licensing works (if you discount council workers saying they think it is a jolly good idea), yet some LA have abused their powers by 'selectively' licensing entire cities.

Less powers, better enforced is the way ahead.

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