The government’s decision to review how selective licensing is used across the private rental sector presents an ideal opportunity to look at a way of introducing a simpler landlord licensing system, according to PayProp.
The automated rental payment provider believes that a uniform and consistent landlord licensing policy may be more effective and easier to enforce.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is currently assembling a panel of independent commissioners which will be responsible for gathering evidence on existing selective licensing schemes from key stakeholders.
The review is set to determine whether the current schemes have achieved the aim of keeping tenants safe and improving standards in the private rented sector (PRS).
Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of PayProp in the UK, said: “There is certainly a place for selective licensing in the PRS but 12 years after being introduced, it's the right time to review its effectiveness," says Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of PayProp in the UK.
“The review comes at a particularly pertinent time when considering the extension of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing being introduced in the autumn.”
Selective licensing schemes are currently enforced by local authorities with significant fines handed out to landlords who fail to comply.
Cobbold continued: “One of the biggest challenges for selective licensing is enforcement and having the required resources to operate schemes effectively.
“Implementing a 'one-size-fits-all' approach could make projects easier to enforce and level the financial playing field for landlords.
“What's more, partnering licensing schemes with initiatives like the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker in London as well as the national blacklist of criminal landlords could help them be more effective in achieving one of their main objectives - identifying rogue operators and raising PRS standards.
“We hope these are the kinds of issues that will be explored as part of the ongoing review.”
When announcing the licensing review, the MHCLG said that the full findings will not be presented until spring 2019 but that there will be an update on the review's progress issued this autumn.
Meanwhile, in October, mandatory licensing of HMOs is being extended to include all properties let to five or more people from two or more households. It is estimated that an extra 160,000 properties across the country will need to be licensed.
Cobbold added: “The proposed update on the review looks like it will be coming at the right time.
“Prior to the extension of mandatory HMO licensing, it will be interesting to see what stakeholder feedback the review has taken on board and whether there are plans to bring selective licensing and HMO licensing under a similar framework.
“Letting agents could be among the most helpful stakeholders in this process.
“This is due to their significant client bases and the likelihood of their having a range of different experiences of selective licensing over a number of years.”