An increasing number of local authorities around the country are now introducing licensing schemes for private landlords. This is a growing trend and is something that anyone who rents out property is likely to have strong views on.
Several local authorities are currently consulting on licensing in their area and the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) is urging landlords to make their views known on the plans that are being put forward.
For anyone not familiar with licensing, this is how it works. Landlords pay a fee, typically several hundred pounds, to their local authority for a licence. They and their rental homes are then checked to ensure they are operating legally. There are steep penalties for landlords who don’t comply.
Local authorities argue that licensing schemes, which were brought in as an option under the Housing Act 2004, are a way of cracking down on rogue landlords and ensuring tenants get a fair deal and are living in decent homes. Landlords on the other hand, often argue that these schemes won’t necessarily pick up on the worst offenders, who will continue to operate under the radar, and that licensing schemes are just a way for councils to make money.
Whatever your view on this, a number of schemes are now out for consultation, giving you the opportunity to have your say. Current consultations are in Liverpool, Charnwood in Leicestershire and Tower Hamlets. The NRLA responds to all local authority licensing consultations on behalf of its members but individual landlords are urged to submit their own comments on what's being put forward.
If you’ve never done this before, the NRLA has a new licensing toolkit that explains the licensing process and also gives some helpful guidance about responding to consultations as well as setting out the legal requirements that local councils have to meet. You’ll have to be a member to use the toolkit but even if you’re not and you live in one of these areas, it’s well worth going to your local authority website and submitting a response anyway. Landlords often feel their views are overlooked. So make sure your voice is heard.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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