Yesterday, the Government announced plans to introduce a mandatory licensing scheme for landlords of multi-let accommodation. This is in an attempt to clamp down on rogues and introduce standards in the sector.
However, the Association of Residential Letting Agents believes this scheme is destined for failure.
The new rules, to be introduced next year, were outlined in a consultation published yesterday by the Department for Communities and Local Government. They propose to apply these licensing rules to all shared properties in England with five or more people from two or more households. In addition, the rules will apply to flats attached to business premises.
According to housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell, the rules will make sure that, ‘everyone has somewhere safe and secure to live.’
He continued by saying: ‘These measures will give councils the powers they need to tackle poor-quality rental homes in their area. By driving out rogue landlords that flout the rules out of business, we are raising standards and giving tenants the protection they need.’
Landlords failing to comply with the licence could face potential fines or even a criminal prosecution.
Proposed licensing scheme won’t work, claims ARLA
Lack of enforcement
However, David Cox, managing director of ARLA, said that, ‘landlord licensing doesn’t work.’
Continuing, Mr Cox said: ‘Councils already have a wide variety of powers to prosecute for poor property conditions and bad management practices; with penalties ranging from fines to seizure of property and even imprisonment. But Councils don’t have the resources to undertake effective enforcement action. Imposing more burdens on councils will not mean improved standards and better conditions for tenants; it will merely mean more laws that are not being enforced.’
Responding to Mr Barwell’s comments that rules for minimum room sizes will also apply to shared properties, Cox said this could have, ‘unintended consequences.’
‘Some people are happy to take small rooms to keep their costs down. If these rooms are no longer available, where are people supposed to live? What’s more, if a small room in a property can no longer be let out, the costs of that room will be spread across the other tenants living in the property; pushing up their rents. A habitable room is essential but a one-size-fits-all policy doesn’t always work,’ he concluded.