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National licensing of landlords “on the horizon” says regulation expert

A key member of the Regulation of Property Agents working party says the licensing of private landlords is “on the horizon” but remains a vast piece of work before it can take effect.

Mark Hayward, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents Propertymark organisation, was one of the most high-profile members of the RoPA working party which reported 18 months ago, with a series of recommendations to government on the regulation of the property industry.

Although there was no direct demand for landlords to be regulated, the RoPA recommendations included mandatory qualifications and licensing for lettings and sales agents, a new code of practice, an official regulator and various changes to the consumer-facing aspect of agency activities.


The aim of the RoPA report was to make the industry more transparent.

Although private landlords were not within the remit of RoPA, NAEA chief Hayward now says licensing is “on the horizon.”

But it’s not going to happen imminently, he admits, because “it’s a vast piece of work to find out who [private landlords] are, where they are and how they could be regulated.”



With regard to agency regulation, Hayward adds: “It’s still very much on the agenda. It’s just the precise timing that’s the issue. It’s something that the government wants to move forward, it’s got cross-party support so it will happening. It just needs primary legislation, and finding time for that is difficult.“

You can see many more details of the RoPA recommendations here.

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  • George Dawes

    More pointless red tape , just what we need in a pandemic


    Haven’t they got more important things to sort out at mo. George I agree.

  • Mark Wilson

    Licensing a route to rent controls.


    Rent controls a route to no PRS.

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    Licensing is a route to a dysfunctional private rented sector & bust.

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    I think after 25 years in the job that will be the straw that broke the camels back. 8 families happy with me as I am with them now looking for a new home. Not proud to be British country has gone to the dogs.

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    When you have needed a licence to keep dogs and go fishing, it does seem odd that no licence has been needed to rent out a property, when - through ignorance of the regulations or deliberately - there continue to be unsafe or overcrowded or squalid properties being rented out. Of course the vast majority of landlords are responsible - but there is no other way to weed out those who are not, with tenants often desperate not to create a fuss about unsafe or terrible conditions with their landlords. Sorry landlords, licencing fees - which would fund inspection visits - is a necessary evil for landlords. As renting a property is a huge responsibility requiring responsible landlords. Look at it from the side of the tenants. Think of it as a MoT for rented properties. Doesn't even need to be an inspection every year. Every five years would probably be sufficient.


    I'm not against that, what I am concerned about is the cost, trucks have to have an MOT every year, the operators pass that on in their chargers to their customers, so it'll be yet another cost that will be passed onto tenants.


    Greeny’s back 🤢


    Landlords existence is not a constant. The can (and will) choose to exit if it’s too expensive/hard work…

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    I disagree David, there has always been ways to route out the few bad Landlords, Councils just haven't been doing it, and Govt have allowed them to implement Licensing schemes as a cheaper way for L.A's to raise extra money from the majority of complaint landlords to fund more enforcement.

    But we all know that L.A go after the low-hanging fruit and Civil Penalties galore for all the trivia they come across..
    Meanwhile, - how does Licensing reveal the true Rogue landlords who just won't bother to register. !

    Meanwhile 'back at the ranch' Newham, one of the most aggressive Anti-Landlord Councils have been found by the Housing Ombudsman to have one of the Two worse Council housing delay on serious repairs record. !


    Tenants should need a licence to rent, withdrawn if evicted after a court hearing. That way antisocial tenants and rent dodgers might leave promptly when told to do so, otherwise it would be a life in cardboard boxes.

    Decent tenants would get decent hones faster.

    Great progress all round which is why it won't happen and the loonies would oppose it.


    David Wirth
    We have registration and licensing here in Wales through the debacle that calls itself Rent(not so) Smart Wales.
    These fees we pay don't fund inspection visits and therefore the ones that are unlicensed carry on as rogue landlords off the radar.
    Legitimate landlords are the only ones that are going to register and even then, this does not in any way guarantee that the property is in a good state of repair.
    I have a property next to mine that has had nothing done to it for 30 years and it is registered with RSW.
    Says it all really!!!

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    • 30 October 2020 09:21 AM

    Nah! Effective licensing is a way to eradicate bad LL leaving behind millions of homeless tenants and only good LL.
    Good LL need lots of homeless tenants so they can price their assets at far higher prices.
    Currently bad LL depress rents.
    But as bad LL are stopped from letting good LL will prosper.

    This of course will be resented as rents increase.
    Then of course as suggested the clarion calls for rent controls will occur.

    The millions of fraudulent tenancies are keeping Rents too low.

    A National Register though would be useful.

    Not much that can be done about rent controls.
    They are coming in the next 10 years.
    This as a result of a far smaller PRS caused by all the anti-LL activity.

    The issue is of course the cost of licensing.

    It needs only to be a maximum of £100 per property for 5 years.
    There are about 4.5 million private LL properties and and about 2.5 million Private LL
    So that would be a total of 7 million £100 every 5 years.

    That should be more than adequate to pay for enforcement activity to eradicate bad LL and fraudulent tenancies.

    Ingrid Mott

    Current licenced LL's are inspected each year i believe. And they have to pay something like sixty quid when that comes round.

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    Surprisingly I find myself in agreement on the licencing of Landlords. 99% of Landlords have nothing to worry about.
    In my view a Landlord should either be licenced i.e. have the same RoPA qualifications as an Agent, or would have to legally have their property managed by RoPA licenced Agent. How many Landlords do you think would be able to pass these qualifications right now without further education? You may be surprised but the answer is, without doubt, not many. Landlord's will have to be prepared to educate themselves further. Not a popular opinion on here I appreciate, but my view is... rightly so.
    Any future reform should be considered and encapsulate the whole restructuring of the sector though. It is obscene the amount of individual adhoc regulation that has become statute with little or no joined up thinking. Any licencing requirement should be coupled with Housing Act reform (i.e. S21 abolition & S8 to include an accelerated ppssession procedure). Message to the Government -PLEASE stream line the PRS with reforms in one go, over a considered period of time.
    We will then all know where we stand and more likely be on board, rather than worn down by the constant tweaking (some call it meddling!) of the Government. There are not many left, but at least this will get rid of the rogue Agents/ Landlords for good.
    Here's another idea - have a all political party policy with a non-affiliated Housing Minister who stays in the job for more than 12 more months at a time!

    • 30 October 2020 09:39 AM

    Sort of agree.
    Don't consider exams etc should be required for LL.
    But certainly 35 hours of compulsory CPD training every 5 years should be required for EVERY LL.
    This is what is required for lorry and coach drivers.
    Without the 5 yearly CPD training they are NOT allowed to drive for a living.

    However if after such CPD training a Council finds the performance of a LL inadequate then they may make an order that to continue trading the LL would need to use a qualified LA for a year.
    The LL to then be forced to undergo another 35 hrs of CPD training even if still within 5 years from their previous 5 years training..


    Extensive training is only required because of rampant government legislation. Keep letting simple, as it was 25 years ago, and 35 hours could be reduced to ten or less.

  • Matthew Payne

    It is sensible provided you don't then make Landlords fund the scheme as well which would then simply be another tax hike. With public finances as they are though, I can't see any other option which will only accelerate the shrinking of the PRS even quicker. I am still flummoxed though as to what the government plan is to house everyone through the 2020s until such time as significant BTR stock becomes available.

    The PRS isnt big enough as it is for what HMG needs to house the ever growing social housing waiting list and when evictions start next year, as the population continues to grow, and with no social units being built, that list will be getting longer very quickly. It wont be that long before the waiting list and the remaining PRS units are a similar size. By 2023/4 just as they are looking to be relected, HMG is going to have a massive problem on their hands. 3 million people waiting for social housing, 3 million PRS units, but nearly all rented to private tenants. I don't understand why they cant see it, or what the secret masterplan is, if they can.


    I think the term is '' heads in sand ''

    Ingrid Mott

    Secret master plan: mega rich landlords will scoop up our speedy exit properties with cash purchases. The letting industry properties will become uniform throughout Uk , like Howard Johnson motels are in US - every single one the same - each with uniform conformity. Once these powerful landlords succeed over us, control of the letting industry will revert to them. The balance of power to evict will switch in favour of these "Lords". Im off to Spain.

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    I strongly agree with comments by John Thompson. I have properties in 5 areas of the UK with very different interactions with the local councils. I no longer will take on Social paid tenants as a start point due to very poor communications with said Councils. That said I do of course support tenants whom find themselves in this situation before, after and during Covid. Being a Landlord, as well as being a business, means that sometimes you need to go that extra mile.
    Bring licensing on. Existing landlords should not pay for this, the Government have enough revenue from us since S24 to fund this. New landlords should budget for licensing. In the next phase of licensing then all should pay but it should be at a reasonable price.
    Currently tenants benefit from Landlords whom break the rules. This money should be shared with local authorities to off set high licensing fees.
    It is my belief that when the reports come back from inspections it will transform the image of landlords. The vast majority of us work hard, communicate well with our tenants and provide warm, desirable places to live and have a good relationship with tenants. The press will not report this as it's not good fodder for the papers, Shelter aren't interested as they would have to down size and lose their voice and so and so on.
    Reform needs to happen across the spectrum and licensing to me would be a good way to demonstrate how the greater number of good landlords operate.

    • 30 October 2020 13:54 PM

    There is no way that Govt or Councils would want National Licensing.

    It would reveal the millions of fraudulent tenancies and tenants.

    Good LL have nothing to fear.

    But bad LL; Councils and Govt have a great deal to fear from a National LL Licensing system!

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    I’ve always, always said that if there is to be any licensing at all, it should be one single national licence (similar to a driving licence that qualifies you for any car). Local licensing should be abolished if this were to happen, but what’s the betting they’d keep local licensing and simply add on national licensing at (huge) extra cost?

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    Mr Wirth I disagree totally with you I am not talking like many others that never had a License I am talking from as a LL that has suffered at the hands of the worse than useless Councils that run this extortion racket, with no in put whatsoever they see fit to charge £1300 for a license. I was a Tenant for many years too, so do you want to argue that one fine. This confirms it all been hijacked by Graduates that knows Computers and nothing about being a LL. They have plenty backing from letting Agents as is evident here self interest feathering their own nest. People can have a License for a gun it don't necessarily shooting someone.

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    Oh the horror of landlords being regulated. Can't wait for this to happen, the amount of tenants I see in my work being utterly ripped off for deposits, broken by endless section 21s, crippled by unfair and utterly extortionate rents, living in mouldy houses with broken boilers, scared to complain because of revenge evictions. I'm also looking forward to the day when you can not esculate the housing crisis by refusing tenants who claim UC. If you are all as good as you say you are you have nothing to fear from regulation. Housing should be a human right, not something g for people to hoard and profit from. Also, if you rent out one house and its your only income, I have no sympathy. That was you gamble and you ran Into knowing all the risks. Unlucky if that plan is not working out for you. Go find a job, or sell your house. 'well I can tell you now the PRS will cease to exist'.. Good, perhaps some council housing will get built.


    You have my sympathy Sue, clearly you are a woman with one big big problem


    Just when some idiots seem to have gone quiet, another one appears!

    Ingrid Mott

    Housing as a human right is the responsibility of government. Private labdlords are trying to make a living , most having sacrificed a great deal to obtain property. As a pensioner, i would be claiming benefits now if I had not bought to let when i had the chance. We are not charities set up for unfortunate people, any more than Tescos is for the hungry. Government are responsible for housing the needy. They shift this onto us but then want full control of our business. What a cheek. If we are forced to become housing charities because of governments failings, we should be compensated as such.


    Sue. This makes complete sense.

    • 01 November 2020 18:54 PM

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    Hi Sue West, well said, i mean i've even heard that there are some businesses that sell food for a living . Outrageous, we all have the right to eat. Soon they will be selling us water! Hang on a minute, what's this bottle say Naive, ah no sorry evian.
    Without doubt there are useless idiotic cretinous (sorry love this word) landlords and lets hope that they get out of the business.
    I assume that you work somewhere that deals with complaints on housing, good for you. All I can say that you will never hear from one of my tenants, it's a partnership and I make sure that I hold up my end, I won't bore you with how many times that I have been let down though.
    Balance is the key.
    I would add that I am blown away with your confidence in the Politicians to sort out housing. I think it would be better if landlords were able to licence any half decent politician regardless of party.
    Anyway that's enough of my sentiment.

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    • 30 October 2020 19:37 PM


    Sue West actual evidence of a Looney!!!

    Poor dear she understands so little.

    Trouble is people of her incorrect understanding are informing major negative policy changes to the PRS.

    This is devastating for tenants.

    There always seems to be a presumption amongst the loonies that LL will just carry on offering the full range of letting property.

    They don't seem to appreciate that LL can always adjust how they operate and even just sell up.

    The loonies like Sue West seem to imagine that they should have the power to control how a LL should offer their assets.

    Most bizarre.

    The offer to treat will always be managed by LL to best suit them and NOT tenants.

    Sometimes the two might be mutually compatible.

    But LL must ALWAYS have the right to manage their trading position to their maximum advantage if they so choose.

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    Hi Sue, sorry you had bad experiences it a shame that the Council took the money that could have improved the properties for those Tenants. Of course we all have a right to eat if we earn it, we all have aright to good housing if we buy them, its a pity that other people expect me to work to keep them. Incidentally you didn't say what those individuals they do for a living ?, you are right about Broken Section 21 but crippling LL's. Deposits you say I don't have them since 2006 since Shelter alleged LL with held 44% of Deposits, it later only less than 2% went to Dispute Resolutions. Too many spongers on UC, I can't wait for the day we are thrown out what a relief that would be.

  • John  Bentley

    Hi Sue west, what if LL take your advice and sell up because it's no longer financially viable and still no council housing gets built?, please impart your wisdom.


    Well you see John, Sue and her likes think all those tenants will over night become home owners, really quite a joke aren't they ?

  • John  Bentley

    Hi Sue west, what if LL take your advice and sell up because it's no longer financially viable and still no council housing gets built?, please impart your wisdom.

  • John  Bentley

    Good LL have nothing to fear from licensing provided it's at a reasonable cost and not just used as another tax on LL. If there are to be inspections of properties then it would be only fair that the inspector would also have some power to make sure the Tennants side of the agreement is being upheld and not turning decent accommodation in to a complete hole.
    Too much to ask for I suppose.

    Ingrid Mott

    Of course it's too much to ask for. Tenants are victims and Landlords must support them no matter what.

    Annual inspection visits to licenced properties incur a fee of around £60 Ive heard. If your tenant has a grudge and "fixes" the fire alarm or allows damp to build up in winter You will be fleeced.

  • Ruan Gildchirst

    The time of the LL easy income has ended

    It’s going to be at least two years to evict a non paying tenant

    LLs should be greatful to have a non paying tenant in, if it’s empty then squatters could get in

    LLs should look for good property caretakers to stop squatters wrecking the place


    Don't bet on it mate, desperate times mean desperate measures, Landlord income was never easy income, you would know that if you were a landlord, easy income is for the public sector and the benefit cheats.


    Squatting in residential property is now a criminal offence, so we don't need rent-dodging freeloaders to "protect" our properties.

    Incidentally I can't see the difference between a squatter and a rent dodger, but unfortunately currently the government seems to differentiate to avoid its duty to house the feckless, reckless and hopeless, expecting the PRS to do their duty for them.

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    • 01 November 2020 08:50 AM

    Ingrid Mott-

    Please tell me. How long ago is it since you left this world?

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    Another one comes crawling out of the woodwork that Represents Estate Agents and not us but depends on LL's for a living, its not his property & why weren't we invited to the working party making a series of recommendations to Government indeed. There are countless Organisations & individuals living off LL's backs, can they not get a job and earn a living instead of devoting their lives to destroy us and make some contribution to the Country instead of speeding up Recession, the'll have us like the people on benefits wanting to do nothing.


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