The National Landlords Association (NLA) has commended recent proposals by the Government to change the rules surrounding landlord licensing schemes with local councils
Speaking about the changes, the NLA’s Richard Lambert explained that adjusting the legislation could prove beneficial for landlords in numerous ways.
He described the proposed changes as “welcome” news that “stops local councils introducing unnecessary borough-wide licensing schemes without an evidence base”.
Instead, he claimed that local authorities and councils would be encouraged to resolve specific issues which relate to their areas of focus by outlining exactly how landlord licensing schemes will operate and be assessed using clearer, fairer guidelines.
New eligibility for licensing
Under the changes, which will apply to section 250 (6) of the Housing Act 2004, councils will only be able to designate specific parts of their local area as suitable for landlord licensing under certain conditions.
This will prevent borough-wide rulings from being made and ensure that licensing only applies where it is absolutely necessary – thus helping landlords achieve a fairer deal.
Under the Draft Order presented to Parliament only areas where there are a “high proportion of properties in the private rented sector, in relation to total housing” can be considered eligible for selective licensing if they meet one of the following four conditions:
1) The area is prone to risks caused by poor quality housing stock. For example, where properties do not meet health and safety legislation or environmental health legislation
2) The area is or has recently experienced a flood of migration which may lead to overcrowding and other associated problems without regulation
3) The area is or has recently undergone deprivation which would significantly affect the quality of life of many locals if unregulated. This will be closely related to local employment data, average local incomes, community health statistics and education availability
4) The area reports high crime levels and both the local police and local council agree that licensing could assist with the control of reduction of crime figures
The Order does not specify a strict percentage at which point the proportion of rented properties is considered high in relation to total housing but the NLA is confident the changes will be of benefit.
It is hoped that progress on the Order is made before “the dissolution of the current parliament later this month”.