Councillors in to large cities have opposing views of landlord licensing – as one scraps plans to regulate buy to let and the other moves nearer to tightening up rules.
Milton Keynes Council has abandoned proposals for a city-wide licensing scheme and also voted to slash house in multiple occupation license fees by £500 to £300.
The move is surprising as Milton Keynes was one of the ‘gang of four’ councils that failed in a High Court bid to overturn the new coalition governments U-turn over buy to let regulation in 2011
“Selective licensing is a powerful tool for councils but it should only be used when appropriate. The clear message from Milton Keynes is that they intend to take a more proactive stance and focus on the existing powers they have available to combat poor standards” said National Landlord Association chief executive Richard Lambert.
The NLA had supported local landlords in a campaign against more regulation.
Meanwhile Liverpool City Council is pressing on with a city-wide licensing scheme by moving to a three-month consultation period starting on March 24, 2014.
Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said: “This is a really important issue for our city. We want to ensure that Liverpool has a high standard of private rented properties which tenants can be confident in, and we believe a licensing scheme would play a major role in helping us achieve this.
“This formal consultation period gives all organisations and individuals affected by these proposals the chance to get involved in the discussions and have their say. We will consider all views carefully before we make a final decision.”
Regardless of the consultation, the licensing scheme is expected to take effect during 2015.
The only council running a borough-wide selective licensing scheme for all private rented homes is Newham, East London, where 35,000 homes are licensed.
Several other London boroughs and other cities, like Milton Keynes and Liverpool, had indicated moving towards selective licensing for all buy to lets and houses in multiple occupation.
Oxford has a similar scheme in place for all private rental homes shared by three or more tenants.