Housing Secretary Michael Gove (main picture, inset) has strongly hinted that selective licensing schemes will not be needed when the government’s new property portal is launched.
During an exchange following a speech on the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities’ long-term plan for housing, NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle (pictured) told Gove: “Like you, we also want to see bad landlords exited from the sector and for tenants and local authorities to easily identify the very many decent homes and decent landlords via the property portal and the decent homes standard forthcoming.
“But given the added reliance and pressures set out today on local authorities desperate for funding, if we have an effective property portal, why do we need selective licensing schemes as well?”
Gove replied: “That is a very fair point, Ben. Selective licensing has both provided reassurance in some areas but also frustration for those anxious to increase supply.”
Part of the Renters Reform Bill, the property portal proposals will require landlords to register their properties online and evidence compliance, which should free up time and resources in the courts and local authorities, allowing them to spend more time dealing with serious cases.
The NRLA believes that many licensing schemes are justified on the basis that councils need information on their PRS to enforce against rogue landlords. Given that the portal will be accessible by local authorities, it is calling on the government to scrap licensing once such schemes are in place.
Earlier this year, Clive Betts MP, chair of the committee that scrutinises the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, told landlords at the annual NRLA conference that the portal would probably mean that fewer requests to operate blanket licencing schemes would be submitted by local authorities.