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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

RLA: Landlord licensing not needed

Local councils are being urged to drop landlord licensing schemes following the publication of new laws showing that they are not needed.
 
Measures in the Government’s new Housing and Planning Bill, presented to the House of Commons on Tuesday, make clear that local authorities can use council tax registration forms to ask tenants for details of a properties’ tenure and its landlord to help root out criminal landlords. The RLA campaigned hard for this measure.
 
The bill also includes powers for local authorities to use information held by statutory tenancy deposit schemes to enforce regulations affecting private rented housing.
 
The RLA is now calling on councils to drop licensing schemes given that the bill makes clear that they can collect the information they need without levying expensive costs on landlords which inevitably get passed on to tenants in higher rents. The housing minister, Brandon Lewis MP, previously dubbed such licensing a “tenants’ tax”.

Commenting on the development, RLA policy director David Smith said: “The Housing Bill makes clear that landlord licensing schemes are not needed and serve only as a money raising exercise by councils.
 
“Local authorities now have serious questions to answer. Why are they charging good landlords when they can collect the information they need to drive out criminal landlords using council tax registration forms for free.
 
“It’s time for councils to think again and bring to an end to the tenants’ tax once and for all.”

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    I haven't seen details of the new bill, beyond what I've read here, but based on that, Councils might well argue that assuming tenants are willing to supply their landlord's details (assuming they have them to begin with) on their council tax forms, these details will only become available at the start of a new tenancy - many tenants remain at the same property for several years, and are therefore unlikely to have been asked for their landlord's details when they first registered for council tax.

    In addition, not every landlord takes a deposit, especially given the complex and unfair legislation this is subject to. I would suggest that in addition, agencies should be compelled to pass on details of new tenancies, and mortgage providers could also be compelled to make these available.

    However, I doubt councils would be satisfied, as we all know that they impose licensing schemes primarily to raise revenue. Also REAL rogue landlords operate completely below the radar, as do many of their tenants.

  • Bob Leydon MARLA

    Whilst it is true the Council tax forms might not be sufficient to capture all landlord details, it is a significant step in the right direction and would capture the vast majority of landlords, so should not be ruled out simply because it does not capture every last one. I agree with Mandy, "agencies should be compelled to pass on details of new tenancies" if this would avoid licensing. I strongly agree with the RLA stance.

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