Housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis has said that the powers of local councils to introduce compulsory licensing for landlords will be restricted by reforms to the Selective Licensing scheme. From 1 April, councils will need approval from the government if they wish to implement a licensing scheme over a large geographical area or proportion of the market.
The action has been credited to the sustained efforts of the National Landlords Association (NLA). Their report in February on the state of landlord licensing across the country may have been the final push required.
The power to license landlords across an entire borough or jurisdiction was granted to local councils in 2010. It was intended to be used as a means of dealing with issues such as anti-social behaviour in ‘hotspot areas.’ But the NLA report argues that the sharp rise in the number of licensing schemes is more closely correlated with the political will of a given council than the actual need for it in a given area.
Following the reforms, councils will have to present a strong case to government if they want to have licensing introduced.
NLA chief executive Richard Lambert said: “Hopefully this now means that councils who are serious about tackling poor property standards and anti-social behaviour will first look to the extensive existing legal powers they already have to combat the issues.”