Selective licensing of landlords fails tenants

The Government recently abandoned plans for regulation of the Private Rented Sector (PRS) and cited Selective Licensing powers as security enough to protect tenants.

These powers allow local authorities to monitor and regulate landlords in areas of low housing demand or which experience high levels of anti-social behaviour.

However, according to ARLA's research, only 12 out of some 400 local authorities have used these powers to introduce Selective Licensing to date.

And across these local authorities, ARLA's research shows that only fifteen landlords have been prosecuted for failing to comply with the licensing requirements.

This is despite schemes which have been operational for several months having already identified landlords that are not fulfilling their responsibilities.

ARLA has also discovered inconsistencies around the implementation of Selective Licensing, with local authorities enforcing the legislation on a region-by-region basis.

Ian Potter, operations manager of ARLA, commented: "ARLA's research highlights the low number of prosecutions and the inconsistent means by which Selective Licensing is enforced, and the need for a national scheme to regulate the PRS.

"The Government's argument that Selective Licensing allows local authorities to deal with the problem of rogue landlords does not stand up to scrutiny. Only a small number of local authorities operate Selective Licensing schemes and these have led to very few prosecutions for those landlords who do not carry out their obligations.

"We again urge the Government to re-examine Selective Licensing, and as a bare minimum, strengthen the obligations of local authorities and landlords to provide adequate protection for tenants in the Private Rented Sector."