Queen’s Speech Did Not Cover Compulsory Landlord Licensing
By |Published On: 28th May 2015|

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Queen’s Speech Did Not Cover Compulsory Landlord Licensing

By |Published On: 28th May 2015|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

Yesterday’s Queen’s Speech did not give details or even mention compulsory licensing of private landlords, which the Prime Minister pledged last week.

Website Nearly Legal has criticised the probable immigration laws, believing that the “full horror” is just setting in.

Nearly Legal says: “It is clear that the Government intends to use immigration law as an excuse to introduce some radical – and conceptually awful – reforms to housing law… New laws will mean that a tenancy will automatically end if the tenant is unlawfully present (e.g. if their visa ends) and there will be steps taken to make it easier to evict illegal immigrants.

“The full horror of this last part is just sinking in. Leaving aside the utter unreality of expecting landlords to understand immigration law, how on earth can a tenancy be ended because of a transitory personal status?

“This is going to be a disastrous legislative programme doing untold damage to the interests of landlords, tenants and housing law itself. The only clear winners from this will be the lawyers.”1 

The Queen’s Speech only briefly mentioned immigration controls regarding right to rent, with David Cameron proposing licensing for private landlords only days ago.

Some property experts are wondering if this will mean a new national registration scheme for landlords, whether it will include letting agents and if it would be a part of local licensing schemes.

Queen's Speech Did Not Cover Compulsory Landlord Licensing

Queen’s Speech Did Not Cover Compulsory Landlord Licensing

However, not all local authorities have licensing schemes in place other than the mandatory House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) system. Currently, landlords must have an HMO license if their rental property has three storeys or more, is shared by five or more people in over one household and if the tenants share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) believes that the a new scheme would cause problems: “While seeming to dispel concerns over a general, national landlord licensing requirement, a great many homes and landlords not currently covered by local additional licensing schemes could find themselves caught under a new mandatory scheme.

“This will also place local authorities under substantial pressure as they will have to process the large number of applications for new licenses, assess the properties and carry out further enforcement against those who have not sought licenses.

“Given that, as the RLA has highlighted, current enforcement is often patchy, a new further area of enforcement work may make the situation worse rather than better.”1

Despite a licensing scheme not yet apparent, it appears that the Queen’s Speech hinted at all landlords and letting agents soon having to carry out immigration status checks on tenants.

Legal expert David Smith comments: “It is clear that the right to rent scheme will be rolled out fairly rapidly and there was an oblique reference to a mandatory licensing scheme for landlords.

“This is of great concern, but until more details are available it is not clear whether this is a new licensing scheme, as is about to be introduced in Wales, or something smaller such as widening of current HMO licensing provisions.”1

Chief Executive of estate agency Spicerhaart, Paul Smith, is also concerned over the roll out of immigration checks: “The policy issue underlying these new rules is tackling illegal immigration into the UK – a laudable aim – but passing this task onto landlords, and inevitably letting agents acting in their best interests, is misplaced.

“Landlords and letting agents are not border control agents and adding another layer to the administration means agent fees will increase, as all checks and referencing are labour and time intensive. Ultimately, the tenant pays the price.”1 

1 http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/compulsory-landlord-licensing-still-on-agenda-despite-queens-speech-silence/


About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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