Croydon Council have taken their plan for a borough-wide licensing scheme for all private landlords to a second consultative stage.
After widespread condemnation of their original proposal - including blanket leafleting by the local Conservative Party, who claimed it would lead to a rise in rents - the proposed fee of £1000 per property has been reduced to £750, with a discount to £350 for early registration. Those unable to complete an on-line application would have to pay more. This would provide the Council with a minimum cash boost of well over £11m.
Legislation allows the Council to introduce landlord licensing on the grounds of either low housing demand or a high incidence of anti-social behaviour (ASB). As they cannot prove the former they have been marshalling statistics to argue the latter.
However, according to their own data there are 32,500 properties in the private rental sector (PRS) in Croydon and there were only 257 incidents of anti-social behaviour in privately rented properties, less than 1%. Their other argument concerning fly tipping would appear to be conjecture and there seems to be no genuine legal grounds to institute such a scheme.
The Council have also stated the scheme would allow them to tackle rogue landlords letting sub-standard accommodation, but they already have ample powers under HHSRS to deal with these problems.
The scheme will put great pressure on private landlords to deal with anti-social tenants. Figures released separately today showed that of applications for evictions nationally between July and September this year, over 63% (nearly 26,000) were by social landlords. This would suggest councils and housing associations are actively displacing their own problem tenants into the PRS.
To make your own views felt about this proposal visit http://www.croydon.gov.uk/betterplacetorent