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Will 2024 see the end of private rental sector licensing?

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has given what some commentators have interpreted as a sign that private rental sector licensing from councils may be made redundant by the Renters Reform Bill.

At a public speech made by Gove just before Christmas he was asked by a rental expert whether the new property portal - a nationwide licensing system which every landlord will have to sign up to - will make local council licensing redundant.

The questioner - National Residential Landlords Association chief executive Ben Beadle - asked: “You have gone on record recognising that the vast majority of landlords do a great job In providing decent homes. We, like you, we also want to see bad landlords exited from the sector and for tenants and local authorities to easily identify the very many decent homes and decent landlords via the property portal and the decent homes standard forthcoming.


“Given the added reliance and pressures set out today on local authorities desperate for funding, if we have an effective property portal, why are selective licensing schemes needed as well?”

To which Gove replied: “That is a very fair point, Ben.”

The property portal proposals are included with the Government’s Renters (Reform) Bill and will require landlords to register their properties online and evidence compliance. The government says this will free up time and resources in the courts and local authorities.

Given the portal will be accessible by local authorities, the NRLA is calling on the government to scrap licensing once such schemes are in place and will be seeking a meeting with Gove’s office in the new year to discuss the issue further.

The renters Reform Bill will have its Third Reading in the Commons next month and is then sent to the House of Lords; it is expected to be law by the summer of 2024.

Nearly 50 new licensing schemes and consultations have launched throughout the UK this year. Fines for landlords and agents in London alone have reached some £10m.


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