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New licensing regime will ‘hound’ tenants in their homes

A local authority has been attacked over its plans for a selective licensing scheme which will force landlords or their agents to inspect their properties every month.

Harrow Council is introducing the new scheme in its Edgware ward on November 1 at a cost of up to £550, in an attempt to combat anti-social behaviour.

The council say it is a pilot scheme which could be copied in two other areas, Wealdstone and South Harrow.

As well as monthly inspections, landlords will have to clear litter from outside the properties. In addition, landlords and tenants will have to allow council staff to make checks at just 24 hours’ notice.

The National Landlords Association is warning that the licence conditions will lead to tenants feeling harassed in their homes, and says the conditions are unacceptable for landlords.

Gavin Dick, the NLAS’s local authority policy officer, said: “The council has the powers it needs to deal with anti-social behaviour in the borough but instead of allocating funding for enforcement they’ve passed the buck by putting the responsibility on to landlords.

“While we agree that private rented properties must be kept up to standard, the council’s conditions will essentially result in the harassment of tenants in their own homes.

“Monthly checks are simply unnecessary and could be considered as breaking a tenant’s ‘right to quiet enjoyment’.

“The council has displayed an incredible lack of understanding of how private housing works. It’s not for the landlord to decide who can have access to their tenant’s home and when.

“Neither is it their responsibility to remove household waste, domestic or otherwise.”

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