London borough proposes landlord licensing scheme
Landlords with properties listed with London lettings agents could soon be subject to a new licensing scheme.
The London borough of Newham has launched a consultation on a new scheme which will see all those letting property in the area subject to a number of checks to make sure they conform to certain standards.
If approved, Newham would become the first local authority in the country to introduce a licensing scheme for all private landlords.
Under the initiative, landlords in the borough will need to show that they are "fit and proper persons" and demonstrate to the local authority that any gas and electrical installations have a safety certificate, tenants are on written tenancy agreements and that anti-social behaviour and repairs are effectively managed.
The aim of the scheme is to ensure that all private-sector tenants are provided with decent and safe accommodation at a time when demand for rented homes is soaring.
While some landlords may resent the additional time and costs such a scheme may bring, it might also help those letting property in the area to attract tenants as they will be assured of a minimum level of quality.
"We want to ensure that private sector rented properties are well managed and meet a good standard. We also want to deal with the crime and anti-social behaviour that is sometimes associated with bad private sector rented housing," said Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales.
"Good landlords have nothing to fear from this scheme. For the bad ones, this a clear message they must clean up their act."
The proposals are being backed by national housing charity Shelter which has urged other councils to follow Newham's lead and introduce their own licensing schemes.
It follows recent figures from tenant referencing service HomeLet, which found that the average rental price in Greater London increased to a record £1,202 in August, up from £1,154 the previous month.