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Councils given more licensing powers
Landlords may have hoped it was an April Fool but no, John Healey MP Minister for Housing gave councils stronger local powers to tackle unprofessional private landlords who offer substandard accommodation, by introducing licensing schemes in local problem areas. Councils will have even greater powers to compel private landlords in certain areas to apply for licences, to ensure they offer safe, quality and well managed accommodation before granting licences. Until now, a council wanting to introduce licensing in their area would need to apply to central Government for permission to do so – now, councils can act immediately and introduce licensing – wherever they consider it is needed.
The Government is also funding a dedicated team from the Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) to support councils as they establish licensing scheme.
If elected, Labour plans will also go ahead to create a Trip Advisor style website where tenants can post their views on their landlords – good or bad, naturally. They will also introduce a National Landlords Register and further regulation of letting agents.
All these measures are prettily packaged under the banner of ‘driving out all the bad landlords’, notwithstanding the fact that even by their own figures over 75 per cent of private rented sector tenants are very happy with their home and the service they receive from their landlord and agent.