Newham Council was the first authority in the UK to implement a blanket licensing scheme for landlords. The controversial scheme launched in January, charging landlords £150 for a five-year license if they applied in the first month, and £500 thereafter. Landlords failing to apply are subject to fines of up to £20,000 per property.
Much of the early criticism said that it would be almost impossible to police. Newham Council says that over 2,000 properties were sent warning letters, over half of which later became licensed. 63 operations targeting unlicensed or poorly managed properties have been conducted; 110 legal cases have been brought against landlords relating to unlicensed properties and HMO offences; 43 cautions have been issued; and £300 of enforcement charges have been levied.
Nottingham City Council is also planning to implement a landlord licensing scheme, but Newham’s alleged success has done little to placate opposition. Giles Inman, spokesperson for the East Midlands Property Owners (EMPO) association, said, “This scheme will be most damaging in the long run to the very tenants it was designed to safeguard, as the increased costs will ultimately fall on the tenants in the form of higher rents.”
Landlord and EMPO member Roger Lancaster said, “The overwhelming majority of landlords are law-abiding, while it’s just a small minority that the licensing is targeted at who are unlikely to register in the first place!”
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