The boss of a Midlands estate agency and property services firm has come up with a radical new idea to address council inaction over rogue landlords and poor housing standards.

He reckons a new landlord licensing scheme similar to Wales’ scheme but with fit and proper persons checks along with a three-year property MOT would rid the sector of most unsafe properties and generate millions in additional local authority revenue for social housing and vital repairs.

The agency MD, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of a potential backlash, says the check would cost £250 annually. He tells LandlordZONE: “Although a similar check is currently done to get an HMO licence, it only covers the building, not the person, and there’s nothing at all for standard residential properties.” 

His idea was sparked by two local cases, one where a landlord running an HMO was jailed for concealing cameras in his property and filming students but is now back running HMOs, while the other concerned a rented property where the ceilings were caving in for three years before the council took action.

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Property MOT

“There should also be a property MOT check on everything including the electrics,” he says. “At the moment not all landlords get this done and there’s no one actually monitoring it – it’s just done on trust. This would cost £300 every three years per property and would cover a council inspection and admin to record electrical and gas safety certificates.”

He believes that if landlords were licenced and registered along with their properties, it would give local authorities the ability to enforce legislation, rather than hoping they might catch landlords out once tenants have moved in.

However, his local council has dismissed the idea and were more concerned in protecting private property rights. Unsurprisingly, local landlords weren’t keen either but he adds: “I think it has potential – I’m hoping someone else might take up the idea.”

Read more: Why selective licensing doesn’t work.

7 COMMENTS

  1. “He reckons a new landlord licensing scheme similar to Wales’ scheme but with fit and proper persons checks along with a three-year property MOT would rid the sector of most unsafe properties and generate millions in additional local authority revenue for social housing and vital repairs.”

    What! So the PRS will be funding social housing and vital repairs!

    “The agency MD, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of a potential backlash, says the check would cost £250 annually.”

    Rent’ll be going up again then.

    ” He tells LandlordZONE: “Although a similar check is currently done to get an HMO licence, it only covers the building, not the person, and there’s nothing at all for standard residential properties.”

    You have to be a fit and proper person to run a HMO. My council checks this already.

    ““There should also be a property MOT check on everything including the electrics,” he says. “At the moment not all landlords get this done and there’s no one actually monitoring it – it’s just done on trust. This would cost £300 every three years per property and would cover a council inspection and admin to record electrical and gas safety certificates.”

    Rents up by £2 per week. How many times a year would inspection take place? Would this be once every three years? How can £300 be justified? Even one inspection a year would be a rip-off. It’s an hour’s work at most, including travel time. What would the council do if the tenant was living in filth? This wouldn’t be the landlord’s fault. What if the tenant had messed about with the electrics making the place unsafe (like my tenant did)? Would the council take this up with the tenant and make the tenant sort it out and pay for the repairs/cleaning up etc?

    Landlord need support too, but councils aren’t taking up any schemes to support landlords. No wonder so many landlords are selling up and people are getting more desperate for housing.

  2. So how are landlords protected from rogue property agents? The ever increasing landlord bashing rules are driving investment away. Perhaps the unspecified agent should restrict his business to sales. I guess he doesn’t want to be identified as he will probably loose some of his clients unless he is so principled to refuse instructions from clients whose properties don’t meet his standards? For the record I do not condone rogue landlords but nor do I believe my tenants should be forced to pay higher rents to cover all of those, like councils, milking good landlords; of whom they are a majority.

  3. MOT stands for Ministry Of Transport. Properties are nothing to do with transport so this certification should not be called an MOT. Please use correct terminology as the Ministry O f Transport (now Dept Of Transport I believe) want nothing to do with housing certification & so is impossible for this scheme to exist.

  4. The agency MD, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of a potential backlash, says the check would cost £250 annually. That means rents would need to be increased by £21 pcm to cover this – plus another 10% approx for the agency’s cut.
    This will be extra free money to the agencies annually of course as they will take their increased commission from the increased rents. No wonder this person thinks it’s such a great idea.
    I’ve just increased all my rents to cover previous increased regulation costs as it is so I’m sure tenants won’t be too pleased to get another increase.

  5. I have a property in wales and payed the licence fee and the registration fee 5 years ago, and have received nothing in return for my money, I have rang them once asking a question about air b&b landlords operating in blocks of apartments (against the lease) and upsetting standard AST tenants who have lived quietly for 10 years plus but are now unhappy and looking to move away, rent smart wales, said they did not cover this sector, which in my mind these are rouge landlords so why don’t they?
    The licence fee and registration fee are due for renewal this august! Hopefully the property will be sold by then, another tenant having to move when she was quit happy until air b&b moved in! She will have been there about 13years.
    The councils and other authorities need to police rouge landlords, all this bashing of good landlords and increasing costs to us which is only being passed on to the tenants because we have to, as expenditure is becoming greater than the income, is not helping the housing situation at all.
    And the comment about some landlords don’t bother having electrical tests, well they have only just become mandatory but I have had them done from day one of being a landlord 19 years ago! And gas certs and everything else we have to do and things we don’t have to, so the ones that don’t get them done are rouge landlords, if they are not policed and banned from letting property again then they will carry on being rouge landlords. They will not pop their heads up and say hi I am over here, I will register and pay a licence fee, no they will stay down behind the parapet, in the mean time good landlords are forced to pay these fees to help councils fund policing rouge landlords, well they don’t and why should we pay to get rid of the rouges. It’s time to sell up, more poor long standing tenants having to move on, possibly into the hands of a rouge landlord, or a landlord new to the bussiness who won’t have a clue.
    Ooo sorry I called letting property a bussiness oops! A new landlord to investing!
    Must apologise you have to work and put effort into a bussiness, which we don’t as HMRC tax us as investors. (Holiday let’s and air b&b A BUSSINESS)
    Sorry for ranting but sometimes you have to.

  6. A National LL Licensing scheme would be an excellent idea.

    But first ALL other property licensing schemes would need to abolished.
    A 5 year MOT at no more than £100 per property would be paid.
    Few LL would object to this.

    However as part of any property letting licence a LL would need to prove the following

    Compliance with
    EPC conditions

    Lender conditions

    Insurance conditions

    Council planning conditions

    HHRS conditions

    Freeholder conditions

    Leaseholder conditions

    There are millions of properties which would fail to comply with these conditions which would result in millions of homeless tenants

    It is for these reasons that there will NEVER be such a comprehensive LL licensing system.

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