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The Government has just unveiled its review of selective licensing and, as rumoured, it contains recommendations for a national database of landlords to be created.
A review of selective licensing was launched in June 2018 to assess how well it is working.
It sought views from local authorities and bodies representing landlords, tenants and housing professionals on how the schemes operate.The conclusions of the report are as follows:The evidence presented in this review supports the overall recommendation that selective licensing should be retained.4 The research undertaken indicates that the effectiveness of selective licensing could be improved through implementation of the following further recommendations:
In its current form, selective licensing legislation precludes authorities from taking direct enforcement measures against landlords where issues of property condition (in particular significant hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System5) are discovered during a selective licensing inspection, despite licensing schemes often being introduced specifically to tackle such issues.
To address this, Government should consider amending the mandatory licence conditions with which a landlord must comply to include a standard requirement on property condition that covers the absence of serious hazards, for example:
“the landlord should ensure that the property is in such a condition as to comply with the condition obligation of a landlord under section 9A of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to let and keep a property fit for human habitation within the meaning of section 10 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985”6
Authorities should be permitted to enforce directly against this condition if prescribed hazards (or other matters set out in section 10) which amount to the property not being fit for human habitation are discovered during a selective licensing inspection (see paragraphs 8.19 to 8.48).7
Government should consider issuing best practice/guidance as appropriate to support local authorities and improve the implementation of schemes. This best practice/guidance should seek to address the issues summarised in paragraphs 10.31 and 10.32.
Government should consider adding to the specific exemptions from selective licensing schemes where the case can be made; such as purpose-built student accommodation that follows a Government approved code8 and non-profit charitable institutions that are not registered social housing providers (see paragraphs 11.1 to 11.14).9
4 As set out in Part 3 of The Housing Act 2004.5 A local authority can take emergency remedial action without 24 hours notice in respect of a Category 1 HHSRS hazard if there is an imminent risk of serious harm; but may not make an emergency prohibition order. 6 As amended by the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.7 The current list of conditions is found in Schedule 4 to The Housing Act 2004.8 See Housing Act 2004 s233.9 The current set of specified exemptions can be found in The Selective Licensing of Houses (Specified Exemptions) (England) Order 2006.
Appropriate criteria that engage validation by the Secretary of State for all designations above a certain level should remain in place at a similar level to the current “20% of the privately rented sector (based on figures from census data) or 20% of total geographic area” threshold.10 However, Government should consider reviewing this threshold to ensure (see paragraphs 9.11 to 9.29):
That it relates to up-to-date data sources in the absence of a recent census (but not necessarily private rented sector specific data – see iii);
That smaller authorities are not disadvantaged by the criteria; and
That it is not based on the current size of the private rented sector in a local authority, given the difficulties inherent in enumerating this accurately.
Government should explore options for a “light touch” process for authorities seeking to re-designate an area at the end of a period of licensing. This should apply where there is no substantive change proposed to the existing scheme; and should maintain a requirement for consultation. (see paragraphs 10.5 to 10.10).
Government should consider introducing a national registration scheme for landlords to support and complement selective licensing (see paragraphs 11.15 to 11.31).
Government should explore alternatives to judicial review as the primary method of challenging a designation, as the process of judicial review can be prohibitively expensive (see paragraph 10.11).
Government should consider reviewing requirements for advertising upon designation to ensure they are appropriate; this should reflect the reduction in the circulation of existing newspapers and the widespread use of social media and other electronic formats for the dissemination of information (see paragraphs 7.15 to 7.17).11
Currently, in most cases, licenses are issued for a full five-year period regardless of the time remaining on the designation. Local authorities introducing new schemes should adopt the practice of charging the enforcement element of the licence fee on a prorated basis to allow this element of the charge to reflect the remainder of the designation period. This should only apply in cases where there is no evidence of a deliberate attempt to avoid applying for a licence (see paragraphs 10.26 to 10.30).
10 The current “20%” threshold is found in The Housing Act 2004: Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Selective Licensing of Other Residential Accommodation (England) General Approval 2015.11 Current requirements can be found in sections 9 and 10 of The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006.
Currently there is an extensive mandatory list of questions that must be asked on any licensing application.12 Government should consider allowing local authorities to streamline the licence application process for landlords by allowing local authorities to include on the application form only those questions that they consider relevant to their specific scheme. (see paragraphs 10.20 to 10.25).
Government should consider expanding the range of offences which can trigger a landlord failing the “fit and proper person” test as part of an application for a licence to include breaches of planning law. (see paragraphs 10.12 to 10.19).13
Currently, local authorities with a selective licensing designation can investigate housing benefit and council tax data for the purpose of gathering intelligence about the private rented sector.14 Government should explore options for usefully expanding the range of data that can be shared with local authorities beyond this. This might include revising the appropriate guidance and legislation to take account of the introduction of universal credit (see paragraphs 6.4 to 6.7).A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said:“Select licensing has made a real difference to areas across the country. This report further demonstrates that with proper planning, consultation and implementation, these schemes can make a real difference to the quality of homes people live in.“The report does highlight some important matters which require further consideration, and we will work with the sector to continue to understand their concerns before responding fully.”
Responding to the recommendation for a national register of landlords , John Stewart, Policy Manager for the Residential Landlords Association, said:“Ministers have repeatedly made clear that a national register of landlords would become an unnecessary and costly additional layer of bureaucracy. We agree. All it would become is a list of good landlords which brings us no closer to finding the crooks that operate under the radar.”Responding to the rest of the report, Mr Stewart said:“Selective licensing has become a replacement for lost central government funding and provides no assurances to tenants about the quality of accommodation. Properties do not need to be inspected before a landlord is given a licence and the RLA has found that many councils are charging eye-watering sums of money for almost nothing in return.“Local authorities need the will and the resources to put real effort into finding the criminal landlords who never come forward to make themselves known. That means using a range of information they can already access including council tax returns, information on tenancy deposits and benefit data to root out the minority of landlords who bring the sector into disrepute.”READ THE FULL REVIEWSEE ALSO - Section 21 - curated threads, news, & videosUP NEXT - Landlord facing £50K additional license costsDON'T MISS - Number of private landlords in declineNOW WATCH:
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
Is this cut number 27 then? Or was it included in the original 26 cuts. I feel its a cut eitherway
I think it is a new "cut".Interesting comment from the Property Industry Eye discussion:
I LOLled at that. He should try the Landlord Energy saving Regulations.
He should' also be glad he isn't in England.
Principal and Property Fee - every 3 years
Each landlord and agent applying for registration should pay a principal fee of £55 (now £65) to each local authority in which they apply and, in the case of landlords, a property fee of £11 (now £15) for each property registered.
Various discounts and exemptions apply and these are detailed below.
Apply online, and the LA fee for each LA after the first is halved.
Roughly £100-120 per house per year
"Key mechanisms by which licensing effects change"
and the first one in the list is....
"It focuses resources on areas of concern whilst simultaneously generating revenue to contribute to the costs involved;"
it's all about revenue generation for local authorities !!!!
DISCLAIMER just my personal opinion - for legal advice consult a qualified professional grown-up.
Hmmm. A quick top slice and the quality of the basic research appears to be dire (leaving aside that the most useful change seems to be excluded from the brief). Section 1.4:
1.4 The role of the private rented sector as both a growing and long-term option for meeting the nation’s housing need has been acknowledged by range of organisations working in the housing sector. For example, the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association forecasted that the private rented sector will increase in size to 35% nationally by 2032. 15 On this basis, the number of households renting privately could double again over the next twenty years.
That reference 15 is to this document, which is a mortgage lenders research document.https://www.imla.org.uk/resources/publica...to-let.pdf
The document is dated May 2014. ie well before Mr Osborne deliberately started breaking the legs of the PRS.
They ignored subsequent research from the same author and same body identifying the threat.
Another f*ck*up coming down from Parliament, I would say.
Exactly - haven't used their own data in the English Housing Survey which despite using data lagging 12-18 months behind has shown the PRS has gone into a sharp reverse after many years of sustained growth.
I knew this would come I think I mentioned a Licence for every Landlord
again we are being moved from a Investment to a Business
Times are a changing
The NLA and The RLA should get a head of the Govt on this ???
They should have run a Licence a long time ago to be a Member ???
now we have the bureaucrats doing it instead of us
Learn Change and Adapt ?????
All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.
I fully support a national licence scheme (along scottish lines and costs) - provided that it REPLACES all local selective licence schemes.
- this document seems to be advocating both - and using the data from a national registration scheme to further enable local schemes instead of reduce the need for them....
knowing our Govt it may well be both
and it will be a dogs dinner
But will they listen NO
Nanny state knows best
So if you ask a civil servant - is the job you're doing worthwhile and having a good outcome - or completely pointless - I wonder what the answer will be..... a big fat slice of selection bias there !
"3.11 p24 A single authority rated their scheme “very ineffective” at dealing with both of the issues which led to its introduction."
- want to shake the hand of the person that filled that in !!!
"Nonetheless, they have recently made a new designation in a separate area of the authority."
job creation scheme for civil servants....