A call to make it simpler for some local councils to bring in licensing schemes governing the private rental sector has been slammed by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
The RLA believes that the proposal will do little to remove criminal landlords from the sector. A response was directed towards a new report from the London Housing Commission, which recommended that the Government should be allowed to give borough councils the option to create their own landlord licensing schemes.
In its response, the RLA said that schemes such as these are a waste of time and money, noting that criminal landlords who show no regard for regulation never make themselves known. In addition, ministers have previously called licensing schemes as a ‘tenants’ tax.’
Offering an alternative, the RLA has called on councils across the capital to utilise powers already accosted to them. These involve having the majority of fit and proper landlords regulated by a single industry-run scheme, which leaves authorities free to target criminals operating behind the scenes.
RLA slams council licensing scheme proposals
RLA chairman Alan Ward acknowledged that, ‘we all want to see criminal landlords rooted out of the sector but making licensing easier for councils is not the answer.’ He stated that, ‘no criminal landlord ever makes them self known willingly,’ and that, ‘licensing only increases the time councils spend administering the scheme when they could instead be devoting these resources to finding criminal landlords.’
However, the RLA has welcomed calls in the report for more public sector land to be made available for the development of fresh private rental properties.
Ward said, ‘we welcome the focus that the Commission has on boosting the supply of homes to rent. Ultimately, it is only by tackling the housing shortage that high rents can be addressed.’ Concluding, he noted that, ‘it is vital though that any moves to increase the supply of rental housing recognises that the vast majority of landlords are and will continue to be, individuals rather than big corporate bodies.’