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New research report: Licensing Private Rented Homes: Insights & Experiences from 5 London Boroughs

March 2024

Safer Renting has a published a new research report: Licensing Private Rented Homes; Insights and Experiences from Five London Boroughs

Licensing Private Rented Homes (ch1889.org) 

This study tells us Selective Licensing needs strengthening with enhanced programmes of inspection and enforcement.

This report adds to the government’s own data (in ‘A Fairer PRS’), showing that even where licensing is in place, landlord non-compliance is the norm.

The report recommends improving enforcement powers with measures such as annual property inspections and continuing schemes until there is evidence it is no longer required. “Abolishing selective licensing risks undermining the entire stated purpose of Renters Reform Bill: improved security of tenure for renters isn’t really worth having if the homes they have the right to stay in aren’t Fit for Human Habitation.

Almost all private rented properties brought forward for licensing are non-compliant, this study has found.

The findings come from research into five London local authorities’ introduction of discretionary licensing schemes.

It suggests that introducing a landlord register alone won’t be enough to tackle poor property conditions, unless supported by an inspection regime.

The findings come at a time when the Renters Reform Bill is making its way through parliament. If passed, the bill will introduce a new ‘Property Portal’ – a national registration scheme. Currently, local authorities can set up a local landlord licensing scheme if approved by the Secretary of State.

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