The private rented sector in the UK said it is surprised about proposals to introduce a mandatory licensing system due to be in the Queen’s Speech later this week at the opening of the new parliament.
Prime Minister David Cameron said in his speech on immigration last week that landlords throughout the country will be required to check the status of immigrants who rent their property following a pilot in the West Midlands.
But, without giving details, he also said that a new mandatory licensing scheme will be introduced along with new rules allowing landlords to evict illegal immigrants more quickly.
‘We’ll also crack down on the unscrupulous landlords who cram houses full of illegal migrants, by introducing a new mandatory licensing regime. And, a bit like ending jobs when visas expire, we’ll consult on cancelling tenancies automatically at the same point,’ he said.
Landlord and letting organisations are concerned and are waiting for details which are likely to be in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday.
‘We are pleased to see the Government listened to our housing manifesto calls for greater regulation of the private rented sector. However, whilst this is a step in the right direction, it’s not the full solution to the problem of rogue agents plaguing the market,’ said David Cox, managing director of the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA).
‘We urge the Government to take this opportunity and impose more appropriate, over-arching regulation on the whole lettings industry. We look forward to hearing the full details of the plans in the Queen’s Speech,’ he added.
The Residential Landlords Association said it has writing to immigration minister James Brokenshaw asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the proposals. ‘No form of universal licensing of rented property is proven to capture the most unscrupulous landlords. As so often, the devil will be in the detail,’ said RLA chairman Alan Ward.
Update 27/5/15 from the National Landlords Association website:
After seeking clarification from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the proposal for a mandatory licensing regime relates to homes of multiple occupation (HMOs) or ‘shared housing’ only. The proposal is to amend the definition of mandatory licensable HMOs – currently 3 storeys and 5 individuals – and DCLG intend to consult on the proposals before anything is implemented, with exact timeframes yet tbc.