Lewisham Council is the latest council, to seek Governments endorsement. The cabinet will consider the matter on March 11th 2020.
The council wants to target the private rented sector, and wants to toughen up the rules, through various licensing schemes.
Seek to dispense with the 24-hour notice period
Lewisham council will seek to dispense with the 24-hour notice period before they can inspect a property for alleged breaches.
The council has already extended the regulations, requiring landlords, in the borough, to obtain licences to let an HMO, those that are above commercial retail units.
If the council acquires approval, it would mean, that all privately rented properties would be licensable. HMO landlords will have to pay £500. The £500 fee is per property.
The new changes, if approved, would also mean, private landlords will have to pay £640 per property. This will only apply to a single household or two unrelated people.
Brent council’s application, for an extension, to its selective licensing scheme was recently refused. A spokesperson said: “Councils should ensure that licensing is targeted so that it can drive out rogue landlords, who undercut the market, and put lives at risk by letting out properties that are unfit for people.
Should not be funded, on the backs of landlords
“However, these efforts should not be funded, on the backs of landlords, who are compliant with legislation, and are providing much-needed accommodation.”
“In Lewisham, we know that the vast majority of landlords take their responsibilities to their tenants seriously and provide decent, well-maintained and well-managed homes.
“However, it is also the case that there are widespread issues of poor housing conditions, housing hazards, disrepair and incidences of antisocial behaviour within the PRS.
“In addition, there are a small number of criminal landlords, who rent out accommodation, that is not safe.”
Currently, 10% of all private HMOs in Lewisham are covered by its current schemes.
The council needs backing from the secretary of state for housing, communities and local Government to bring in the new licensing rules.
Helen Cartwright from the British Landlords Association said: “some of our members feel this is another indirect tax to fleece landlords, the council already have tools to deal with rogue landlords”.
Source: British Landlords Association
Author: Marc Attwater
Date: 6th of March 2020