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Call for agents to speak out over council licensing schemes

A leading PropTech entrepreneur says lettings agents should be more vocal in providing the government with feedback on council rental licensing schemes.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is assembling a panel of independent commissioners which will be responsible for gathering evidence on existing selective licensing schemes from key stakeholders.

The review is set to determine whether the current schemes have achieved the aim of keeping tenants safe and improving standards in the private rented sector.


"Letting agents could be among the most helpful stakeholders in this process" says Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of automated rental payment provider PayProp in the UK. 

"This is due to their significant client bases and the likelihood of their having a range of different experiences of selective licensing over a number of years" he adds.

Selective landlord licensing schemes came into force in 2006 and allow local authorities to require landlords in a designated area to hold a licence for each rental property they own.

Cobbold says the time is right for a review, especially as this October the mandatory licensing of HMOs is being extended to include all properties let to five or more people from two or more households. It is estimated that an extra 160,000 properties across the country will need to be licensed.

"One of the biggest challenges for selective licensing is enforcement and having the required resources to operate schemes effectively" Cobbold explains.

"Implementing a 'one-size-fits-all' approach could make projects easier to enforce and level the financial playing field for landlords. Partnering licensing with initiatives like the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker in London as well as the national blacklist of criminal landlords could help them be more effective in achieving one of their main objectives - identifying rogue operators and raising PRS standards" he believes.  

When announcing the licensing review, the MHCLG said that the full findings will not be presented until spring 2019 but that there will be an update on the review's progress issued later this year.

Poll: What's your view on Selective Licensing Schemes?



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