England has been much slower than Scotland to adopt a compulsory landlord registration scheme, but now the first local authority in England has decided to follow suit. Newham council will be requiring landlords to register and state that they have complied with health and safety legislation, and failure to comply could result in fines of up to £20,000.
Pressure on Landlords
A signature should guarantee to tenants that quality standards are being adhered to, and registration will also ensure that landlords are honest about the status of their properties. Tenants can expect to be able to enjoy their rental properties without fear of having to deal with poor standards, and landlords who fail to live up to basic standards will start struggling to take on tenants.
Extra Protection Required
Newham landlords who have committed to the registration process will still find themselves needing to seek extra protection from a landlord insurance provider to ensure that their livelihood is safe. Registration certainly won’t stop legal disputes and landlord insurance is the only sure-fire way for landlords to be able to replace tenant-damaged items (which could compromise their landlord status) without cost.
Could the UK follow suit?
Newham is a particularly difficult area for tenants and it’s not surprising that the authorities have decided to adopt a licensing scheme here. We could well see the same process being undertaken in other areas but ministers are at present in opposition to a national landlord licensing system. Local authorities will have to continually assess the needs of their areas, and landlords should be notified of any changes, but should still keep an eye on the news regardless.
Registration could help to sort out some disputes between tenants and landlords in the future, and it should certainly give tenants more security when choosing a rental property. It could add a small administrative burden to landlords, but those who are letting sound properties shouldn’t have difficulties completing the process.