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Council abandons proposed landlord licensing scheme

A local authority has opted not to introduce a new landlord licensing scheme, an investigation by London Property Licensing has revealed.

Wandsworth Council was considering the introduction of a landlord licensing initiative but according to London Property Licensing has now decided on more effective ways to monitor and improve the private rented sector (PRS), which accounts for around a third of the housing stock in the London borough.

A report by the council’s Housing and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee revealed that despite significant growth in the local PRS, the number of complaints about poor quality accommodation has actually fallen in recent years.

The report also noted that most complaints are resolved through negotiation and the level of tenant satisfaction is extremely high, at 85%.

Having considered additional and selective licensing, the report concluded that there was no evidence available to justify the introduction of either scheme and so no licensing consultation will be carried out.

This announcement is sure to welcomed by many landlords in Wandsworth who already strive to provide good quality accommodation that meet health and safety standards for their tenants.

“It is really good to see a council considering a range of options around landlord regulation rather than defaulting to licensing,” said David Smith, policy director at the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

“The Housing Act 2004 offers a range of flexible powers to Councils and this range will shortly be widened with changes in the Housing and Planning Act; Local Housing Authorities should take a risk-based approach and focus their powers on directly addressing the real problems in the private rented sector. It is good to see that Wandsworth has done this,” he added. 

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