Selective Licensing AKA The Private Rental Sector Snoopers Charter
One of our landlord members has contacted us today, urging us to make it clear that the biggest impact selective licensing has is ON THE TENANT.
Local authorities have had the power to introduce Selective Licensing schemes since April 2006.
Increased interest in licensing appears to be directly linked to the growth of the sector (now the second largest tenure in England), where local authorities are now realising the money they can generate through landlord licensing; even though central government prefer voluntary accreditation schemes to be implemented. Furthermore, the newly appointed housing minister is a well known critic of local authority licensing schemes governing the PRS.
Arguing that landlord licensing schemes do not solve the problem but simply increase costs for tenants, he previously commented: “All the evidence suggests that it is a minority of landlords that are causing the problem, not the whole sector.” Barwell continued: “So why is our Labour Council taxing all landlords right across the borough (a tax which law-abiding landlords will pay but those causing the problems will try to avoid), rather than using powers it already has to take action against those landlords who are not maintaining and managing their properties properly?”
The most recent group to reiterate Barwell’s sentiments on local authority licensing schemes are The Somerset Property Network.
Read the full story at:
LANDLORDS: Did you know that North Somerset (proposed) selective licensing conditions include:
- The landlord agrees to comply with all statutory obligations under housing and landlord & tenant legislation, associated regulations, Codes of Practice and British Standards including the legal requirement to gain access to the property (for inspection, repairs, monitoring or other reasons) only by prior arrangement with the tenant and having given 24 hours notice (except in emergencies).
Definition: Landlords no longer have the power to refuse entry to their property.
- At the start of all new tenancies, the Manager or Licence Holder must ensure that all tenants sign up to the ‘North Somerset undertaking of good practice’. A copy must be given to each tenant and a copy signed and retained by the Licence Holder for the duration of the tenancy and provided to the council on demand.
Definition: Nothing but a big brother exercise to monitor and track people on a daily basis. Used in conjunction with rates, inland revenue, government agencies, etc.
- The licence holder must provide a list of all occupants within 28 days if requested to do so by the local authority. A list is hereby required for this property.
Definition: Again, Big Brother mentality.
- Any person becoming involved in the management of the property after the licence date must be a fit and proper person, an application for a test must be made.
- The licence holder must notify the local authority of any change of name, address and any other contact details.
- The scheme will allow North Somerset Council to have an in-depth understanding of the PRS in the area and any HMOs identified as a result of the selective licensing scheme will be proactively inspected and any necessary enforcement action taken. This element will not be funded through the fees from this proposed scheme.
Definition: The only thing that is missing here is the ability for NSC to put satellite tracking devices into a tenants neck …!
Our landlord member helpfully pointed out:
Anyway, here’s the diktat:
Where landlords do not take this opportunity and are found to be non-compliant they will directly bear the additional costs of the council. This will allow us to keep the licensing fee for compliant landlords as low as possible and landlords who do not comply and provide poor housing will be expected to pay more.
Here’s the bit that is snuck in under the radar:
The proposed scheme would tackle specific problems by applying conditions to all licences. (It doesn’t give examples…. so what could be imposed has endless possibilities).’
TENANTS: Did you know that North Somerset selective licensing conditions include:
- The council can enter your home and inspect it on demand.
- Every time you move, your landlord must notify the council on your activity.
- There is to be no obligate sharing of bedrooms.
The North Somerset Council – Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) also states that:
The formal consultation ran for ten weeks, ending on 30th May 2016 and was conducted through e consult with opportunities to submit written comments also. All residents and landlords in the locality were informed of the consultation exercise.
This statement was disproved at the first meeting of the Somerset Property Network, where a show of hands revealed that 25% of landlords in the selective licensing area had no idea about this scheme being implemented until the Somerset Property Network campaign came about (June 2016).
If selective licensing is allowed to be implemented right across the UK then this is the beginning of the end of private housing as we know it; effectively turning the PRS into a ‘new social housing model’. But more importantly, in essence this is giving away the tenants right to privacy and creating a snoopers charter. Big Brother really will be watching PRS tenants every move and charging the landlord for the privilege of doing so.
So if you don’t want to hand your entire life over to the council, then please get behind the Somerset Property Network’s campaign.
A landlord from Romford who has donated to the NSC judicial review, said it best:
‘This is not just about local ‘LL.
All ‘LL can and should help. LETS DIG DEEP AND HELP OUR FELLOW ‘LL IN W-S-W.
If every ‘LL send £1.00. There would be enough money in the pot by mid-day tomorrow. So let’s do it.’
How can this possibly happen in a civilised democratic society? Join Somerset Property network today and get your voice heard.
- Landlords, how do you feel about this? Will you donate to phase one of the North Somerset Selective Licensing Judicial Review now?
- Tenants, how do you feel about this? Will you sign our petition against this intrusion of privacy? https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/landlords-and-tenants-against-selective-licencing