The National Federation of Residential Landlords says it is concerned that the implementation of the Housing Act 2004, due in April 2006, may not be followed by local authorities in England.
The government expects a light touch for good residential landlords and a heavy hand for those landlords who do not manage their properties to a reasonable standard. Through the Housing Act a range of houses in multiple occupation are due to be mandatory licensed, with others being able to be licensed if there is evidence of bad management and antisocial behaviour.
Mike Stimpson, chairman of NFRL, says: We are not surprised to learn some local authorities who already have accreditation schemes are setting about bringing in additional licensing for whole areas of their towns and cities and are including within their schemes landlords who are already accredited and properties that are managed to a high standard.
There appear to be, in some parts of the country, local authorities not intent on giving a light touch for good landlords but licensing every property they can, regardless of management standards. It seems the message being given by government is being ignored by some local authorities for no better reason than political objectives, together with a negative attitude towards the private rented sector.
NFRL has consistently told the government that some local authorities wish to see licensing of the whole private rented sector and are doing as much as they can to ensure their objectives are met at any cost.
HMO licensing will be the turning point for the private rented sector and the government believes it will still continue to flourish and expand. NFRL says potential landlords will think twice about entering the sector and others will move out as soon as they can sell, especially as property prices remain high.
The private sector has moved forward over the past decade, especially with the new landlords coming into the market with buy-to-lets. NFRI says the governments and some local authorities ideas and political agendas are set in the past, and government has done nothing to ensure a reasonable and fair balance to regulation by allowing these local authorities to effectively do as they wish. It does not augur well for the future of private letting in the UK.