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Gove told of agents’ worries about rash of council licensing schemes

Propertymark has written to Housing Secretary Michael Gove outlining its concerns about the latest licensing scheme proposal from a local council.

The specific letter concerns a proposal from Labour-led Brent council in north London to implement a borough-wide selective licensing scheme across all bar one of its wards, but the issues raised by Propertymark apply widely to the raft of licensing proposals now being floated by local authorities.

In its letter to Gove the trade body says its objections are on these grounds:


- The cost of obtaining a license could be put towards better use by landlords in improving standards;

- Concerns on the size of the scheme and that the council will not have the resources to check the standards of properties leaving compliant landlords out of pocket and rogue landlords operating under the radar;

- Concerns that landlords are already complying with legislation and that due to the difficult market many will exit the sector leaving fewer housing options for the vulnerable and higher rents for remaining properties;

- A lack of clear indication on how the selective licensing scheme will tackle anti-social behaviour, energy efficiency and over-crowding; and

- Lack of engagement with local landlords to tackle housing issues. 



Propertymark says that in its various objections, to the Brent scheme and to others, it has stressed that it shares local authorities' aims in improving standards within the private rental sector, reducing anti-social behaviour and tackling problems such as empty properties and low demand. However, it says licensing schemes come at a cost for landlords. 

“These sometimes run into thousands of pounds, especially where landlords have multiple properties in one area. This money would be far better used directly improving standards” says the body.

It has submitted responses for Manchester, Middlesborough, Merton, Brent, and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets proposed schemes, outlining concerns as well as the importance of offering discounts for members of organisations such as Propertymark who aspire to high standards. 

The body adds: “Engagement with local authorities online or in-person consultation events regarding licensing schemes will be paramount for Propertymark, where we will use the opportunity to emphasise the best way to improve standards is by supporting landlords through engagement, training, and grant funding opportunities.” 

  • Kristjan Byfield

    There should be a mandate on councils that applications must be processed within 28 days. That would put a hold on these vast rollouts without the means to actually facilitate them. What is more, a % should be mandated for proactive enforcement- say 35%.


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