Landlord News

The Licensing Lowdown in Your Area

Em Morley - March 3, 2015

The last few years have seen an increase in the amount of local councils choosing to introduce landlord licensing schemes across England and Wales.

These schemes can raise business costs for landlords, and put them under unnecessary burdens. Additionally, they do not pursue bad landlords.

General consent

Local councils have been granted general consent when launching new licensing schemes for private rental housing since 2010. This takes away the need for the central Government to approve the scheme before its introduction.

Before this time, all new schemes had to be agreed by the Government.

The Licensing Lowdown in Your Area

The Licensing Lowdown in Your Area

With the introduction of general consent in 2010, came a big risk for landlords and the community. This allows councils to launch a scheme without any checks, and means that the incentive behind a scheme could be political, instead of having evidence behind it.

The law states that new licensing schemes can only be introduced in areas with anti-social behaviour problems, which can be linked to poor property management in private rental sector housing, or low demand.

However, some councils struggle to justify the need for new schemes, and offer weak evidence to suggest a link between certain issues and the sector.

The NLA works with local councils to resist or positively impact new schemes, however, they cannot always stop them going ahead. Either way, licensing can cause concern for landlords, with a confusing and costly system for them and their tenants.

Licensing tool

Local licensing laws can present substantial business costs, and can be even pricier if landlords do not comply. This is why the NLA has created an interactive tool to keep landlords ahead of the game, and give them the lowdown on licensing in their area. The new map will provide landlords with:

  • An outline of all existing landlord licensing schemes in England and Wales.
  • Details on fees for any mandatory, additional, or selective schemes in the region.
  • Information about areas where proposals are currently in review.
  • Details of NLA local representatives in the area, who can engage with local councils.

The NLA is not only the largest landlord association in the UK, but has a regional network of representatives who act on behalf of landlords.

Risks

This tool is the latest part of the Rent, Risk, Resolve campaign by the NLA. The move looks to help landlords with some of the major risks facing them in the lettings industry.

Rent arrears and increasing interest rates have already been addressed, and now the NLA are focusing on the risks and costs associated with complying with local licensing.

The final part of the campaign, launching later this month, will look at rent controls, believed to be the most damaging risk to the private rental sector.

The NLA’s interactive map can be found at: www.landlords.org.uk/rentriskresolve/licensing-in-your-area