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Gove approves one of UK’s largest landlord licensing schemes

Southwark’s Labour council has won the backing of Housing Secretary Michael Gove for one of the largest private landlord licensing schemes in the country.

The new scheme in the London borough follows the introduction last year of a borough-wide additional licensing scheme for HMOs and a small, selective licensing scheme covering approximately 6,000 properties, for five years.

The first six months of this smaller selective scheme was used as a pilot for the council's new licensing proposal, which divides selective licensing schemes into different designated areas, each tackling specific issues in the area. 


Once the pilot was deemed successful, the next phase went ahead.

A statement from the council claims that the scheme “aims to tackle renters’ biggest concerns: repairs which have not been addressed, landlords who do not respond, and damp and mould, which the council wants to see eliminated from properties. The scheme will also make it easier to support private tenants with problems associated with the cost of living crisis such as fuel poverty.’

A council spokesperson goes on to say: “For too long, tenants have suffered the misery of poor standards of housing, with nowhere to turn if their landlord didn’t get problems sorted. I’m happy to say that we can now press ahead with an extended licensing scheme, making it one of the biggest nationally. 

“We know that that by working with landlords, to better manage standards, we can make improvements and bring up the quality of housing, and the experience of renting for our residents.”

The additional and smaller selective licensing schemes were approved by the council in October 2021 and were effective from March last year for five wards. 

Selective licensing has this month been extended to a total 19 of the borough’s 23 wards and this will extend further from November this year.

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  • George Dawes

    More red tape , just what we need


    We have it through Rent Smart Wales and it helps to weed out rouges like the landlords we have in this property where three of us will see them in court for many years of neglect and just the start of it.

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    in Nottingham we are waiting to hear whether there will be a second 5 yrs of SL starting at the end of July. Meanwhile it has been reported that the Council has hired extra lawyers to deal with housing repair claims from its own tenants!

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    Who deemed it successful? Oh, hang on, got it now.

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    Tenants are already protected by law in regards to repairs. Tenants don't need a licencing scheme to report landlord failures to the council and the council is already empowered to prosecute. Absolutely no need for additional licencing!


    That's not full proof ok.


    Some councils make dealing with bad properties / landlords a priority. They even put adverts on bus stop shelters to encourage tenants to report.
    Other councils don't. They could do it if they want, and give it some priority.


    How does licencing give more powers to local authorities to make landlords carry out repairs? It doesn't change their powers.


    Except to make money 💴 for the councils 🤔🤔

  • John Cart



    Paid for by tenants. That's the inconvenient fact they just conveniently forget to mention.

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    Stop whining you lot..Try being treated like dirt by greedy landlords like mine so cry me a river..THERE GOING TO COURT IN ONE OF THE WORST CASES IN WALES..I haven't the space to tell you about those rouges.

    Richard LeFrak

    So why tar all of us with the same brush then???


    I'm sure you were free to leave and find something better, I fully expect that your landlord would have liked that if you had, there's normally 2 sides to these stories aren't there?


    As Andrew correctly states, you are free to leave and find somewhere else. If there's a shortage of properties and/or rents are too high, stop and think for a minute. Stop bleating about the effect (shortage/sky high rents, rogues) and recognise the cause (incessant govt meddling). In a free market with govt meddling limited to sensible light touch regulation, the market would thrive, there'd be plenty choice of good properties and decent landlords would be fighting for the decent tenants. As it is, you live in the Socialist Republic of Drakeford's Wales so this just won't happen. The rogues will thrive in fact as all the decent landlords have left. Totally predictable consequences!

    Richard LeFrak

    Tell you what Sandra, next time I am over in the UK let me buy you lunch (Crowdfunding from the rest of the group). You can tell me about all these nasty landlords you have encountered.

    Once you have vented about all these problems then you can listen to me for about an hour about what I make in rental income, what I pay in mortgages, what I pay in maintenance per year, what my insurance costs are, what my legal costs are and accountancy fees. While you are sipping your glass of red I will watch as your teeth curl about how much it actually costs me to run the business.

    I have 11 properties so I am classed as a portfolio landlord. Look forward to seeing you soon x

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    You know last time I checked I didn’t know it was compulsorily to stay in a property you didn’t want to. I mean I’ve never kept tenants imprisoned in a house they didn’t like.

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    I see Sandra is still having problèms with the English language, unless the people she's referring to are in fact red.
    Seems unlikely


    That's not the only problem she has with English! There instead of they're, capital letter without a preceding full stop and capitals to denote shouting. Illiterate and bad mannered methinks!
    Did someone force you to take the tenancy and keep living there Sandra?

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    Didnt i see that a similar scheme in Newham made 95% of its revenue, by fining landlords for not having a licence?

  • Zen Landlord

    Hi Sandra, I'm really sorry to hear that you're having problems with your landlord and I'd like to apologise for the comments you've received on here, it really doesn't help landlords cause when some are so unsympathetic. You obviously have a valid case.

    Unfortunately there will always be a small minority of rogue landlords, which is totally unacceptable. But that fact is that there has always been existing legislation in place to deal with these cases. The problem has been lack of Council commitment to do anything about them. Bringing in more and more legislation doesn't really solve this lack of Councils effort.

    This Governments default setting is. Got a problem, bring in more red tape. What they should be doing is finding out what's stopping the Council's from complying with the existing legislation.

    The Government continue to waste our money on using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, which is why public services cost more and more over time. If they put a bit of effort into fixing what we already had it would cost so much less.

    Richard LeFrak

    Sarah, please do not apologise on my behalf. Sandra has been extremely rude to the majority of decent landlords on here without any facts or any substance.

    If she had enlightened us about the problems then I am sure that a few of us on here would have offered good sound advice for free. I am not joking either a lot of what is on here between the landlords is clear sound references to real problems we face and suffer.

    So in relation to Sandra's issues she should seek some advice and we will help her, coming on a landlords forum to call us all rogues will not help her cause. I mean look further up the chain I've even offered to buy her lunch..!


    Totally agree Peter,Sandra hes been rude on here and caused offence to us good landlords

    Zen Landlord

    And we wonder why tenant groups are continuing to bash landlords, she was clearly crying out for some recognition of her case.

    The fact is that some tenants are treated badly by the odd rogue landlord, if we refuse to accept this by disrespecting them then we are not helping our case.

    Read her first post, she wasn't being rude to the majority of landlords. She goes on to mention a "greedy landlord like hers", how is this being rude to the majority of landlords. It isn't.

    Slamming tenants who come on here doesn't help, all it does is make us all look bad.

    I "a good landlord" apologies for the way you've been treated on this forum. Sandra, please don't take this to mean we are all have no empathy to your case.

    Richard LeFrak

    Sarah you are missing the point. Go back over the last few weeks she has been posting and then come back.

    Not one person here slams a good tenant, if you read a lot of our reviews they are supportive and indeed helped tenants.

    What we object to is endless beating of landlords from all sides and not one group from Acorn, Shelter and generation rent have asked for balance.

    So please stop apologising on our behalf.

    Zen Landlord

    I wasn't apologising on your behalf. Sorry if that's what felt.

    If someone comes on here from Google feeds and reads this one article and comments, what will they take from it?


    Thank you for your post Sarah, I agree with many of your points.
    Sandra, many years ago I was renting and I had a very bad experience with a Landlord, but luckily I was able to move to a better place.
    When I became a Landlord I was and am determined to ensure that I provided good quality homes for my tenants.
    Comments on here referring to Councils not using their existing powers is quite right. In addition the Government have destroyed the private rental market, which in effect has made Landlord's retire from this business leading to less properties to rent.
    Landlord's have been a good whipping boy to hide the lack of investment Government of all colours have put into housing. We are also a good distraction for the appalling state of a large part of social housing.
    I am pleased to report that in excess of 80% most tenants have a good experience with their current Landlord, though I fear that this will fall as good Landlord's exit the market.
    All the best to you.

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    If only there were more rental properties available, it would give the tenants so much more power and the landlords would be making efforts to be competitive to attract good tenants.

    So the focus should be on how to increase the supply of rental accommodation, but instead landlords are leaving the business, making things worse for tenants. If only the tenant supporters could see this and direct their efforts at the government who are causing landlords to leave, instead of landlords.

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    Money for the council and the councillors. Who should look after their own accommodation . Not just bang PLL’s. There r some bad LL but we don’t need the licensing scheme. ( with the money going to be wasted). Just Persue em through the courts and fine em. Big time.

  • Franklin I

    The Landlords Licensing scheme, is just an excuse to extort money from LL's.

    In 2012, shortly after the 2012 Olympics, Newham council were the first council in the UK to propose and do a consultation for Landlord's Licensing.

    I filed the forms, like most LL's and we all voted against it.

    Six months later, it became law.

    During the 2012 Olympics, most LL's around Stratford E15, were letting their apartments out for £6,500 for the two week period of the games.
    A lot of money was going out, but the council was just a spectator.
    They had to find a spectacular way of cashing in on the LL's Olympic success.
    This is where the Landlord's Licensing was born.
    Newham council has just issued out its third Licensing, which was 2012, 2017 and now 2023, as 2022 was delayed for reviews.

    If you're a member of a LL's association, a discount is applicable and the form can take 40 to 60 minutes to fill out.
    Nothing is excluded, all document uploads included!

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    Franklin my friend there’s a problem here.
    The first Licensing Scheme or Consultation didn’t take place in 2012.
    I have 4 Properties HM0 Licensed since 2006 and they weren’t 3 Storey either.
    Prior to this there was 3 fake Consultation (1) Southall (2) Ealing Town Hall (3) Acton former Town Hall, following The Mayhew Report lame duck man from ‘York’ which seems to be root of all rubbish place, anyway he told us what was going to happen and didn’t take a blind bit of our views.
    So I had the one’s that required licensing licensed since 2006, re-licensed in 2011, 2016, 2021,
    Original licensing Application fee £598.00 in one hit, escalating to today’s fee to approximately £1600.00 to include the add £50. a room space on top but take in two fees / 30% on Application further 70% taken on issue of license takes up to 15 months but Mandated to your payment card which they take automatically when they are ready.
    So I am especially feeling done by when others haven’t even been required to do one, my Rents are very low while other parts of UK are making 15% returns not 3 or 4% on property purchased of below £100k in many cases, Slainte.

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    I work with a lot of councils and council tenants, the local authorities around London are one of the worst landlords. I hope the council will also be applying the requirements to their own rental properties, but I suspect not.


    yes my thoughts exactly!!

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    My concern is the fees charged for the licensing. This money is taken from the landlord and is out of circulation. This money won't be used to carry out repairs etc.
    Where is the accountability of this money? We don't want to hear in a few year's time that this money was siphoned off by council staff.
    Also, how is it decided on how much licensing fee to charge?

    Richard LeFrak

    Correct, this should be a fixed fee for the whole country. I am totally against another stealth tax that serves absolutely no purpose.


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