Hounslow Council u-turns on landlord licensing scheme
Hounslow Council has u-turned on plans for a licensing scheme for landlords following representations by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and Safeagent.
The RLA threatened the council with judicial review on the basis that the consultation it ran to establish the scheme was flawed in a number of respects.
The council’s lawyers seek to consider Bengal Law and its opinion and contacted the RLA to confirm that it will not take forward the additional licencing scheme and will reconsider future plans, including carrying out a new consultation.
David Smith, policy director at the RLA, said: “We welcome today’s news.
“Hounslow Council had failed to consult on its plans properly.
“We are glad that they have had the courage to admit this and think again.
“Rather than seeking to re-consult on its proposals, the council should consider the reality that they can already access a wealth of information on landlords from council tax returns, tenancy deposit schemes and the electoral roll.
“Instead of tying up good landlords with red tape whilst the criminals continue operating under the radar, the council needs to develop proper enforcement strategies focused on rooting out those who bring the sector into disrepute.
“Licensing does not achieve this.”
Isobel Thomson, chief executive at Safeagent, added: “This is a victory for common sense – we are pleased Hounslow Council took on board the issues we raised about the validity of their proposed scheme.
“It is important that councils do not just automatically view licensing as the panacea for all ills in the PRS.
“There are other existing options at their disposal which could be used more sensibly and would not involve the cost or the level of administration that licensing does.”