Councillors in Redbridge have agreed to move forward with proposals to introduce a selective registration scheme for landlords across 14 wards that are particularly popular with private renters.
Discussions about the initiative dominated the neighbourhood and services committee meeting this week and as a consequence councillors have decided to press ahead with the plan.
“I support them [the plans] because I have always supported landlord registration in the borough,” said Cllr Gwyneth Deakins, Lib Dems, Roding.
The proposals will now go before the full cabinet meeting on Thursday 21st July, before going out for formal consultation.
Cllr Deakins continued: “It certainly gets my support because I think landlords get a lot of money from the council and government through housing benefit.
“It is about time more had to toe the line in terms of standards and priorities.”
However, Conservative councillors in the local area are unhappy with the proposals, after seeing a similar initiative across the whole borough fail.
Describing Wednesday’s meeting as “deja vu” again, Conservative Cllr Paul Canal called the proposals nothing short of a “tax” aimed at raising money for the council.
He commented: “When it was brought a year ago, we said that we would support the introduction of the scheme covering less than a fifth of the borough without having to refer it to the government.
“They were determined to do a 100% scheme. Our view was that it would be a tax.
“We wrote a formal objective about the scheme. A year on they are now going for a scheme that covers 78% of the borough.”
Richard Blanco of the National Landlords Association described the council’s plans to introduce a landlord licensing scheme as a “cynical” attempt to raise fees to fund the council’s private sector housing department.