The Association of Residential Letting Agents has responded to the latest government recommendations for tighter controls on the private rental sector by saying that the call for yet more licensing of Homes in Multiple Occupation just won’t work.
“Landlord licensing doesn’t work. Councils already have a wide variety of powers to prosecute for poor property conditions and bad management practices; with penalties ranging from fines to seizure of property and even imprisonment” says ARLA managing director David Cox.
“But councils don’t have the resources to undertake effective enforcement action. Imposing more burdens on councils will not mean improved standards and better conditions for tenants; it will merely mean more laws that are not being enforced” he says.
He also says there may be unintended consequences from the government’s call for minimum space standards in shared rental accommodation.
“Some people are happy to take small rooms to keep their costs down. If these rooms are no longer available, where are people supposed to live? What’s more, if a small room in a property can no longer be let out, the costs of that room will be spread across the other tenants living in the property; pushing up their rents. A habitable room is essential but a one-size-fits-all policy doesn’t always work” insists Cox.
Meanwhile the Residential Landlords Association policy director, David Smith, says his organisation agrees with the government that tackling criminal landlords must be a priority.
“But powers are already available to tackle overcrowding which is about the number of people crammed into a room, not the size of a room. What is needed is proper enforcement of existing powers” he believes.