Government rejects local authority attempt to extend landlord licensing scheme

The Government has rejected an attempt by Brent Council to extend its selective licensing scheme for landlords.

The London borough, which happens to encompass three Labour MPs – deputy leadership candidate Dawn Butler, Barry Gardiner and Tulip Siddiq – had hoped to extend its schemes in the wards of Willesden Green, Harlesden and Wembley Central.

The Council revealed that Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has rejected its application.

All privately rented properties in the wards of Dudden Hill, Kensal Green, Kilburn, Mapesbury and Queens Park are still required to be licensed, as are houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in the borough.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “Naturally we’re disappointed not to have gotten this done at the first attempt and frustrated at this setback in our aims to improve safety and drive up housing standards for the borough’s private tenants.

“If the Government need to see more evidence, then that’s exactly what we’ll do. We know that licensing works and that it benefits everyone: tenants, landlords and neighbourhoods.”

It comes after the largest property licensing scheme in the country was shut down by the Government last month after an application to extend Liverpool’s city-wide licensing scheme was rejected.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) backed the Government, describing licensing as ineffective.

John Stewart, policy manager for the RLA, said: “We all want to see bad landlords driven out of the sector.

“However, licensing is not the answer.

“All it does is identify the good landlords who register and then tax them. They do nothing to flush out the criminals who stay under the radar.

“Instead, councils should use the wealth of data they can already access to find landlords and target resources to properly enforce the wide range of powers they have to deal with unsafe and sub-standard rented housing.”

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