The government has given an extra £3.8m to councils to come up with ways of catching rogue landlords - and in doing so, it has given explicit backing to licensing.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has written to local authorities asking them to apply for a share of the funds “to crack down on these [criminal] landlords to get them to improve or to leave the market completely.”
He adds: “This funding will continue to stimulate new thinking and further encourage innovative and targeted approaches in the Private Rented Sector, driving out criminal landlords and enabling the majority of landlords to continue to provide safe and decent homes for their tenants. I encourage you to apply.”
In the accompanying 10-page document sent to councils, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government makes it clear that - even though there is apparently consultation underway as to the future of licensing - it backs the principle.
“Licensing is an important tool … There are currently three types of licensing: mandatory and additional licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation and selective licensing of all types of private rented housing. The Government has made reforms to these schemes since their introduction, for example by adding additional criteria to selective licensing and, last year, extending the scope of mandatory licensing” says the document sent to councils.
And it also includes: “The Government recently published an independent review of the effectiveness of selective licensing to ensure that we are providing local authorities with the right tools and will respond to the recommendations made later this year.”
The additional £3.8m set aside for enforcement can be used to increase staffing, deploy technology or create yet more licensing, the government says.