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Written by rosalind renshaw

The London borough of Newham is to license all private landlords from January 1, 2013. 

The licensing scheme, unique in England and Wales, will cover an estimated 35,000 private tenancies, representing one in three of all the borough’s households.

Newham Council made the decision after consulting extensively with residents, private sector tenants, landlords and lettings agencies: 74% of residents and 76% of private tenants supported the scheme.

Private landlords will pay £150 for a five-year licence if they register before the end of this year, otherwise the full fee is £500. Landlords who fail to get a licence face fines of up to £20,000. 

Licensing of landlords had already been piloted on a small scale in the borough’s Little Ilford Neighbourhood Improvement Zone which achieved 100% compliance following enforcement action against a small number of non-compliant landlords.

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “It is clear from our consultation that our residents, including tenants in private sector homes, back our plans.

“This scheme shows that Newham is leading the country when it comes to tackling bad landlords who flout the law.

“We want to ensure that private sector rented properties are well managed and meet a good standard. We also want to deal with the crime and anti-social behaviour that is sometimes associated with bad private sector rented housing. 

“There are good landlords in Newham and we want to work with them. Unfortunately there are also some unscrupulous ones, which these proposals would target.”

Sir Robin added: “Good landlords have nothing to fear from this scheme. For the bad ones, this a clear message they must clean up their act – or pay the price.

“One bad house can drag down a whole street. We are doing this for the community.”

National housing charity Shelter has urged other councils to follow Newham’s lead.

Kay Boycott, Shelter’s director of communications, policy and campaigns, said: “We are delighted that Newham Council will be introducing this scheme, which will help protect vulnerable tenants from rogue landlords who are making their tenants’ lives hell.

“With a chronic shortage of social housing and more and more people being priced out of the housing market, renting is fast becoming the only option for thousands more Londoners. Our advice service for tenants in Newham sees people every day who are suffering at the hands of rogue landlords who are ignoring their responsibilities and wreaking havoc on tenants’ lives.

“We urge other local councils to follow Newham’s lead in sending a clear signal that enforcing the law against rogue landlords is a priority.”


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    Jimmy, i totall agree, it is a landlord tax. The percentage of bad landlords is very minimal conpared to the good landlords. This is just an excuse to get more money from the landlords that work hard to make ends meet and to build a better furture. This will effect the lettings market in Newham and if the implementation of other boroughs come into effect, there will be a major issue with investers buying properties in London. Do remember, when you purchase a property you still pay taxes for any profit gained, so it is in a landlords interest to have a property totally fit for rental, rather then paying the tax man all the profit's earned. Everyone needs to think and have an wider approach, if there was not a private rental market, council boroughs will still be seeing poverty around the streets, it was private investors / landlords purchasing properties renovating them that put some broughs out of the poverty list.

    • 16 October 2012 14:37 PM
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    I agree with Graham. Section 21 clearly states the law here. Good luck people.

    • 27 June 2012 16:55 PM
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    When will we at last have new laws protecting tenants properly? We once did have the same protection in place as tenants take for granted in Europe, capped rents, capped rent increases and assured long term tenancies. Had these measures been brought in ten years ago we would not have seen the buy to let boom that has priced out first time buyers and we would not have the enormous housing benefit bill that has recently been so much bemoaned. The recent press on the plight of shared ownership owner/tenants struggling, as they see their rents being increased while they are also unable to find a buyer for their portion of the property begs one question: why would anyone pay so much money to own a fraction of a flat? The reason is simple, it is the only route young families can see to having an at least remotely secure home in England, as renting means they could be turfed out with a couple of months notice and buying outright is impossible. Might not a big push toward proper new social housing, secure and affordable and not for sale, be the answer to housing young families on low incomes, the same way it was for past generations? It's time to realise that the market does not provide for society, political decisions have to reflect social realities. Building publicly owned property is expensive but is an investment in future generations and a valuable asset with potentially good returns if managed well.

    • 27 June 2012 14:58 PM
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    mind you,even foxtons admitted there is simply no market for this as there are plenty of unfilled hotel rooms

    the greed of this bubble will ensure the bursting will be of epic proportions

    • 27 June 2012 13:05 PM
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    Pity Newham didn't do this before the Olympics. I know of hundreds of tenants being evicted so landlords can cash in, largely helped by unscrupulous letting agents who see the short-term gain but fail to see the inevitable market slump after the games.

    • 27 June 2012 12:55 PM
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    good move....another nail in the coffin of buy to let get rich quick merchants

    lets hope its rolled out throughout the country

    private rental is not fit for purpose

    • 27 June 2012 08:06 AM
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    How many local authorities will see this and start adding up the figures for their own rental 'cash cow'? I predict these sort of schemes will be brought in nationwide within the next 5 years.

    Shelter and all the other tenant help groups will jump on the bandwagon with their typical lack of vision eagerness to hurt landlords and, apart from costing landlords and boosting local authorities coffers, it will achieve exactly nothing as none of them will have the manpower or intestinal fortitude to do anything about rogue landlords if they find them.

    • 26 June 2012 15:24 PM
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    Section21 cannot be served if property is not licenced in a licenced area, section 98 2004 Housing Act

    • 26 June 2012 15:16 PM
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    Robin 'Hood' Wales is taking from the perceived rich to give to the Poor Local Authority

    • 26 June 2012 13:42 PM
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    A flawed local sticking plaster on a national injury.

    • 26 June 2012 12:59 PM
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    Just another cost which the council will not have the resources to enforce and the information will be sold to HMRC, CSA and others.

    • 26 June 2012 11:25 AM
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    Well said EW. Spot on as always. I was just thinking the same thing about s21.

    • 26 June 2012 11:19 AM
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    What happens if Boris introduces his London wide scheme which is currently under discussion?

    Just a thought.

    • 26 June 2012 11:15 AM
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    Robin Wales has unusual views. This idea will drive rogue landlords further underground. It will affect prices and desirability to invest and perhaps prices - Newham wants to fulfil promised to acquire 5000 more homes for social housing. Is there a link?

    This is NOT the answer. If you want more housing, reduce the onerous S106 requirements which are not fit for purpose. There are swathes of undeveloped land in Newham which developers cant afford to build out due to the social housing % requirement which also reduces the overall value of resales on the Private units. Margins are not just about greed - rather the mechanism by which funding is gained.

    I fail to see how their policy of invalidating a s21 can override primary legislation. Sir Robin cannot dictate to the Courts. Changes to s21 validity have only been changed new legislation - not LA policy.

    I would rather Councils treated landlord more fairly by not encouraging tenant not to pay rent and wait until eviction in an area where court waiting lists are so long - and also where the Landlord wasn't liable for the repayment of incorrectly claimed benefits through no fault, action nor ommission of their own.

    • 26 June 2012 11:10 AM
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    Registered Social Landlords are exempt - what about reputable managing agents, that are members of industry bodies, we are NALS, TPO and TDS members, now our landlords have to fork out for this. Daylight robbery.

    • 26 June 2012 11:01 AM
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    "and ensuring
    that the licence holder has a registered
    address in the UK." otherwise, we wouldn't be able to Tax you.

    • 26 June 2012 10:44 AM
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    This makes interesting reading:

    No mentiopn of EPC,s, gas safety, deposit protection scheme membership, fire safety checks for HMO's. Why aren't they looking at any of this sort of stuff?? I suspect it is as Jimmy says, just a revenue building landlord tax


    • 26 June 2012 09:58 AM
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    "An unlicensed landlord is not able to
    use the s.21 Possession Procedure.
    The s.21 procedure entitles them to
    regain possession of the property
    without a court hearing, following the
    service of a valid notice giving the
    tenant at least 2 months notice."

    Can anyone explain how their scheme is able to prevent use of s.21?

    • 26 June 2012 09:58 AM
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    This makes interesting reading:


    • 26 June 2012 09:52 AM
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    Sir Robin added: “Good landlords have nothing to fear from this scheme...
    If I walked up to an old lady in a dark alley and demanded "Give me £500 and you will have nothing to fear". What would be the outcome?
    I therefore call for the arrest of Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales.

    • 26 June 2012 09:40 AM
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    Agree with Ray....Sounds to me just like another expense.

    What do the bad ones have to fear exactly, is it a case of just providing one valid GSI & EPC to get a licence etc, how is this monitored exactly? What im asking is whats the criteria to get this licence?

    • 26 June 2012 09:38 AM
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    “Good landlords have nothing to fear from this scheme. For the bad ones, this a clear message they must clean up their act – or pay the price"

    I think we all know that it will be the good landlordfs who will end up paying the price - they'll pay the license fee like all tax paying responsible people do and the bad ones will continue to get away with it like they do now. We still have rogue landlords around here who won't get a gas safety check done.

    • 26 June 2012 08:57 AM
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    Landlord Tax

    • 26 June 2012 08:12 AM
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