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We want more selective licensing insists environmental health chiefs

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has given a warm welcome to many of the provision in the Renters Reform Bill - except, it seems, for that part which might mean the end of selective licensing.

Written evidence from the institution to the Renters Reform Bill Committee has welcomed the proposals for a ban on Section 21 evictions and for a new Property Portal - but it’s worried in case the proposed portal removes the need for selective licensing schemes.

Selective licensing schemes involve designated areas where privately rented properties have to be licensed with the local authority.


CIEH argues that licensing is a systematic and proactive approach to improving housing standards rather than just collection of information, and is calling for the removal of unnecessary barriers to local authorities using licensing schemes to improve housing standards.

As long ago as January 2019 the CIEH issued a report claiming that selective licensing led to very high numbers of serious hazards and defects being identified and addressed in licensed areas. It also claimed that landlords became more willing to do the required works on their properties once selective licensing schemes had been set up in their areas.

CIEH has also expressed concern about what it calls “the large enforcement burden that the provisions of the Bill will impose on local authorities” and the need for proportionate funding that is sustained and predictable.

The institute’s executive director, Louise Hosking, says: “This written evidence, which has been developed through our Housing Advisory Panel, will provide a really solid foundation for our further parliamentary activity around the Bill. Following our oral evidence to the Public Bill Committee last month, we are determined to continue making the voice of environmental health professionals heard on this crucial piece of legislation.”

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    SL is a blunt tool that penalises good LL (and therefore tenants) in order to find the bad LLs (who don't engage). A property portal, if used properly, should allow LAs to identify the non compliant LLs more easily, therefore erasing the need for SL.

    Unfortunately for tenants, LAs will not want to lose the income stream of SL. Nottingham City Council - just declared bankrupt - will raise £25m over the next 5 years with its second SL scheme. Why would they abandon that just to save tenants some dosh?

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    The problem, from the perspective of environmental health, is if you place more burdens on landlords through licensing it has consequences which are detrimental to the health of landlords and tenants:

    1. Older landlords (the majority) if subjected to stress are more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. In the short term, research shows that they may experience frequent headaches, sleep problems, insomnia, fatigue (physical and mental), difficulty concentrating, change in appetite, muscle tension, pain, chest pain, stomach upset and more.

    2. More landlords are likely to cease letting property, leading to an even more serious imbalance between supply and demand. As a consequence more tenants will be homeless. People who experience homelessness are more likely to have poor physical and mental health than the general population. Chronic and multiple health needs are common and often go untreated.

    3. Licensing costs are passed on to tenants, reducing their disposable income. Lack of money can cause tenants to lose sleep, drink more alcohol and suffer other problems associated with anxiety.

    The majority of rental properties are "good enough", perhaps not perfect, but it is very likely that the detrimental health consequences of licensing outweigh any minor health benefits.


    Yes Ellie this has become a very stressful business aggravated by third parties interfering for financial and political gains


    It has Jahan and environmental health officers adopt a very narrow and therefore inaccurate view of factors detrimental to health.

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    So Councils are in debt going Bankrupt owning millions and they are going to Regulate us to show us how to run a Business properly.


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