PRS expert Kate Faulkner has claimed that the growing number of property licensing schemes being introduced across the UK are the wrong approach, and that a ‘property MOT’ would be a simpler, easier and much cheaper way to ensure properties are safe for tenants to live in.

Speaking during the opening debate of the online National Landlord Investment show today, Faulkner made an impassioned pitch for property MOTs, which have been developed by The Lettings Industry Council.

She claims that these would ensure landlords and letting agents only allowed properties that had all the correct gas, electrical and EPC certificates prior to being offered to tenants.

The problem with the unwieldy selective licensing schemes being introduced at speed by dozens of boroughs this year, is that they regulated properties after they have been rented out, not before.

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Car MOTs

“A property MOT would be as simple as the motor vehicle system,” she says. “If a car has not passed its MOT then the ANPR camera system picks that up and you get stopped by the police.”

Faulkner says a property MOT would mean properties could not be advertised on the major portals or elsewhere without an MOT.

“How did we get to the point where major portals like Rightmove are advertising properties to rent that are often being let illegally?” she says.

“Property MOTs will make it much more difficult for rogue landlords or ill-informed accidental landlords to enter the market.

Faulkner says the crucial bit is that a property MOT is much cheaper than licensing – which is admin heavy and ineffectual because it only punishes the good landlords and often fails to punish the bad ones, who just side-step it.

“A property should only reach a potential tenant once it has got an MOT, rather than councils having to chase properties for compliance long after they have been rented out, so by introducing them they will save landlords and councils money.”

The government recently launched an MOT-style system just for EPCs.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I think it sounds like a reasonable idea providing it isn’t going to cost the landlord (and would therefore be passed on to the tenant in higher rents). An MOT would have the dates on to remind landlords when to renew certs and epcs. It would need to include whether the landlord is or is not listed as living there on the title deed and whether the landlord is the owner of the property and if not, has permission to let it out (to stop subletting etc). The MOT would need to be renewed whenever a cert is updated so that could be at least once a year when the gas cert is due, and possibly three times a year if the gas, elec and epc are due. If it’s too expensive I can see a market in fake MOTs developing.

    It would be great if tenants could have a similar document, that shows rent paid on time (perhaps as a percentage), length of tenancy, and all the things a landlord would want to know. And it would be fantastic if rent payments could go towards a credit score.

    And, of course, this will apply to housing association and council properties too, won’t it?

    Dream on!

  2. Comical that homeowners houses are “less safe” than landlords.

    Tennets have checks on everything.
    They break a toilet seat and demand the landlord changes it.
    Yet, my toilet seat has never broken.

    I have never serviced my 30 year old boiler.
    Breaks, repair. Payback time for a new boiler is never as 10 year warranty costs £700 in servicing
    and the cost of the boiler means zero savings.

    Time for 24 hour evictions for late rent. No pay, no stay.

  3. The MOT style system would work if all Landlords had to upload their compliance documents (e.g. Gas Certifcates, EICR etc,) accessible for anyone to check, to an online portal. Cheap, simple, no need for bureaucratic licnensing schemes.

  4. No point in MOTs. The regulations are already there regarding certs etc. Any tenant can just look at the certs. More regulation is not needed.

  5. My only concern would be any MOT bottle neck that may arise due to lack of LA efficient resourcing. Such a bottle neck would in this case prevent/delay the letting of the property at the landlord’s expense!

  6. Further to my last, the software already exists and is hosted by the National Rental Standard https://thenationalrentalstandard.org.uk/ Now if the NRS became an “MOT” certifying centre, I would be happier! This would reduce costs. Under such a scheme the LA’s would have access to specified data on the system so that they can monitor accordingly and separately conduct enforcement actions as appropriate.

  7. I think what would happen in practice is that Councils will not give up what they have got but will grab the idea of an MOT to justify their administration. Don’t give ideas like this as it would seem that this is something which landlods want. This is a rod for our own backs.
    I would support a tenant MOT though which tenants must produce when entering tenancies and which could also be profferred when seeking eviction. But who will administer a tenant MOT?

  8. MOT supported by a central national Cloud-based portal seems the right way to go. I am presently involved in 4 separate Selective License schemes – all completely different payment structures, payment amounts, paperwork (and I do mean paper) burdens, contact methods and so on.

  9. All the Licensing does is collect money for the Councils. They do not check anything, we have had to License our rental property for years now, and no one has come to check if our property is suitable for renting at all. It’s just a job for the boys!
    Years ago, we had a visit from an Enforcement Officer from the council. He sat in the lounge, looked around and said this is nice. We said would you like to inspect the rest of the house, he said no, but he enjoyed a cup of tea, left a sheet to prove he had been there and went on his way! What a farce!
    A prospective tenant came to look at our house. He said it was the first house he had seen that was suitable for renting, he mentioned that the many others he had seen were not fit for human habitation. Where are these so called inspectors????? The whole thing makes me so angry.

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