Countrywide is calling on the Greater London Assembly to implement a single landlord licensing scheme which individual borough councils can opt in to, or ignore, as they wish.
This system, which could in theory be applied across the country, would take over from the patchwork of different licensing schemes currently applied in some boroughs - and in some cases just some neighbourhoods - across different parts of the capital.
“This would give the boroughs the tools they feel they need to manage the growth of the private rented sector while maximising efficiency and minimising impact on decent landlords” explains Countrywide head of research, Johnny Morris.
“The goals of this scheme should be clearly stated and plans to measure the impact of the policy drawn up at the start” he says.
Countrywide’s call follows an analysis of Newham local authority’s landlord licensing scheme - the first in the country and one of the most vigorously policed by the council concerned.
“Our analysis shows that in both the 12 months prior to the introduction of landlord licensing and in the 12 months after, landlords in Newham were no more or less likely to put up the rent than in any other surrounding borough” explains Morris.
“Some 70 per cent of Newham landlords let their property to a new tenant for more than it had previously been let for. The comparable figures for Redbridge, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets are 74 per cent, 76 per cent and 75 per cent respectively” he states.