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Council wants private landlords as part of “real decisive action”

A Labour-controlled council is inviting private rental sector representatives to a round-table event which it pledges will not be a talking shop but will take “real decisive action” to help the town’s housing shortage.

In a lengthy stream-of-consciousness press release, Oldham council says it’s trying to improve the housing situation in the town through a Selective Licensing scheme in certain areas “to ensure private landlords have a licence, and that they uphold certain standards for their tenants - and if they don't we will take action.” It also says its Tenants Charter means “residents know what to expect from their landlords and how to get help if they need it. And when a landlord doesn't carry out repairs and maintenance properly, we will investigate.”

However, it saves its strongest criticism for the government, accusing it of slashing the number of social homes built annually by some 30,000 across the UK.


Elsewhere in the release it says: “There are 7,500 families on Oldham’s social housing register – with almost 11,000 applications still being processed. Many of these families have been hopelessly bidding on properties, never to get one, through no fault of their own.  To put it bluntly - there simply aren’t enough homes to go round. In fact, it would take over a century to find homes for everyone. 

“For those ‘lucky’ enough to have a home: too many Oldhamers are living in terrible conditions, where they’re forced to put their children's health at risk - just so they can keep a roof over their heads. Too many Oldhamers are living in overcrowded homes. Too many Oldhamers are struggling to afford to pay their rent and mortgages. 

“We’ve become hardened to the word crisis in recent years. Housing is the most basic of human rights. And yet, thousands of people don’t have it. This is absolutely a crisis. Can you imagine not having a place to call home for years? Never being able to put down roots? Your kids never sleeping in their own beds at night? 

This is the heartbreaking reality for so many people in our town.

“There are currently 470 homeless households in temporary accommodation. This number has doubled since the same month in 2021, when it stood at 233 households. The failure of the housing market is pushing families into dire straits. People who had ‘got on’ in life, are now finding themselves at the mercy of private landlords, lost jobs, failed businesses. The list goes on.”

The release says the council’s Housing Roundtable will bring together “key partners including council services, social housing providers, and representatives of the private rented sector - so we can collectively take local action. This won't just be a talking shop. It'll bring real, decisive action - and we'll report back on what we've done.”

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  • icon

    ... but WE ALL KNOW THE PROBLEM and and the solution to the problem. Build more homes.

    Berating private landlords like a broken record will not create more homes, on the contrary they are selling, getting a more reasonable income elsewhere eg bank; and leaving less homes with corresponding higher rents due to supply and demand. Central government used to assist local government around 14% of their budget now it's 9% or less. The central government have sold (at £47 Billion profit) 3M social housing homes... and yet still, the finger-wagging is at small-time landlords with a couple of rental homes used to top up an ever-decreasing pension. The government policies on housing have been faultlessly pathetic, leaving millions of their citizens in great hardship - while flitting away its position as the 7th wealthiest nation in the world.

     G romit

    Building houses is just the first step. Investors/Landlords need to invest in those housest omake them avaible to rent (unless the Council or Government stump up the cash). More regulations, licensing and punitive taxation have over the last 5 years seen the PRS shrink by ~250,000 properties. And the this trend is set to continue.
    Oldham Council solution more overbearing regulation isn't the solution!

  • icon

    Oldham used to be a nice place I used to work for a Company that was based in Vineyard St and was there a number of times. It’s now dilapidated so the Council decides to introduce licensing and rob the finances, how does that help have they not learned that licensing Schemes has created the worst housing Crisis in living memory.

  • icon

    I purposely bought in areas that didn’t require a licence ( I knew that can change). Well now it has and I won’t tolerate interfering busybodies investigating all sorts of claim from tenants and the ‘impartial’ Councils (and Ombudsmen) naturally taking the tenants’ side, instructing works, issuing revenue raising fines and compensation to the tenants.

    I’ve had tenants cause mould, involve the council and try and use a no win no fee solicitor. Even the S21 defence papers and deposit paperwork they are all claiming asthma. Thankfully that’s no defence. But still they tried. All this empower of tenants is a disaster.


    I agree 100% with you, we have seen 100s of landlord leave the sector and 90% of LTD companies stop pursuing BTLs. I think the housing shortage is not just cause by the lack of property BUT too many non uk residents flooding the Uk in the late 2 years.
    If you look at an agents data 89% are Non uk applicants and renting homes in the private sector.

    On this point a lot of tenants now are reporting Damp, two in the last month have had complained and threats to us, so we got reports from damp specialists and 95% of the problem is condensation.
    We have been repeating ourselves for the last 2 years it’s condensation ( open windows so drying clothing in the house) they refuse and cause the issue themselves.
    As an agent we can not make a tenant open windows
    All we can do is re education them
    ( is it our job to teach a tenant the basics of how to live”NO” that’s you would expect a grown up to know the basics )
    The problem is younger tenants they can’t or will not be told what to do ..
    They do not understand you have to respect a house!
    This will only get worse as the Government had striped away the respect landlords once had.
    Not all landlords are villains but they are treated as such.
    More landlords are selling up this year already we have lost 25% of our managed let’s in Dec-Jan 24 offers agreed and in 12 weeks they will be another 25% of these tenants homeless i”or needing to be re housed.

    “warning STOP the flood of non uk residents in the this country, This is why we have no homes for our own people”
    Loads of lettings agents are giving the home to the non uk residents and over Crowding ( as once they get the house they bring over another 10 family members to liver here ) this is true we have seen it.

    Loads are sofa surfing of our own ul people now forced to going back to mum& dad,
    While another point buyers NON uk residents are also buying homes here ?
    Why is that allowed?
    They have only been in the country since coved and are now allowed to live here due to having children here.
    This government has destroyed the UK and our heritage is going to be lost with it.
    Change isn’t a good as the rest !

    Sorry for the venting out, but non of you actually see how many are applying for homes to rent it’s the agents that sea and deal with these, 2023 was the worse for rental applicants applying for a home and should not be allowed in the Uk.
    My own data now hold more non uk residents recored in 2023 than ever before.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Some valid points there Lee, it could be argued the demographic of Oldham is leading to some of the points you have made.

    Never easy answers to any of the problems but a dose of common sense and listening to landlords. This is what will solve the issues but whenever have a council or government entity ever listened.


    Reply to Lee - we don't all use agents and some of us are well aware of the situation. In Nov I had over 100 applicants for my 2 bed property in 3 days. Then openrent paused the advert, so there would have been many more I am sure. As you say, a lot of applicants were from overseas, now wanting to bring their family over. This has definitely changed since 2020.

    Franklin I

    I sympathise with you Nick and Lee.

    It's crucial to remember that while tenants indeed have rights, these rights come with corresponding responsibilities.

    One such responsibility is ensuring proper ventilation of the property. Failing to do so can lead to issues such as dampness, mould, and condensation, which are often mistakenly attributed to the LL.

    The crux of the matter is that tenants need to be accountable and take responsibility for maintaining the condition of their homes.
    This includes understanding and addressing potential issues before they escalate.

    Therefore, it's advisable for tenants to undergo an assessment before moving into a home to ensure they are fully aware of their obligations, in accordance with the T&C's of their agreement.

    This not only helps in maintaining a healthy living environment but also fosters a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship and transparency.


    Hello Lee, My tenants were Nigerian. I don't like to stereotype and wanted to give them a fair go. I only did so because I could 1) financially afford a problem tenant and 2) had S21 which I thought was far more easier and quicker to use. I went from wanting them out in August 2021 to the bailiff arriving in May. I had rising damp contractors, a specialist damp report done, investigations for leaking pipes (none present) all due to a woman, her 'husband' who is actually her brother, 4 kids and a mum alll in a 3 bed house. Maybe other people too. All pig ignorant, uncooperative and unappreciative.

    I never wanted them. Not many people were coming forward to view the property to my surprise. I could leave it empty year in year out rather than get mixed up in complicated landlord tenant relationships and law. Let alone all this woke BS, Michael Gove, Angela Rayner "putting us on notice" etc.

    The referencing from the chain agent was ****. I knew it. She was a "financial advisor". But the UK company had Nigerian directors. No FCA / Prudential registration for her or the company. The only finacial advice she's capable of giving is down at the school telling the other mums what benefits to claim for and compensation claims.

    The brother came to Europe first through Germany. Obviously made it here. They helped get her in. The are from the Commonwealth too. The only reason they are here is to live off of benefits that they dont get at home I suspect. She certaintly wasn't the type to sip English Tea, eat cucumber sandwiches, wave the Union Jack at the Queen etc. They were late 20s now about 30. Claiming to be young and not know what mould is etc. Nothing was ever their fault.

    I agree with your immigration comments. There was an MP from Preston make similar comments and that caused a stir with woke politicians shouting no at him. He made the point the UK families can't find housing on £30k p.a. But all these Gary Linekers live in their own houses and are comfortable. They say keep letting them all in. The MP said give all your money away, move up here with a £30k job and see how you survive! But Gary would never leave the BBC and his big house, and the MPs all have their tax payer paid houses.

    I'm happy for you to vent. Enough is enough!


    Franklin, That all sounds good. The trouble is no one cares about the tenants and their responsibilities other than the landlord (and agent). It's all about giving tenants more rights, and landlords less rights and loads more responsibilites.

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    At last a council wanting to have a conversation with landlords on how to help. Good opportunity to feed back about S21 and S24. Also the councils & activists negative narrative around PRS.

    Overall though this shows what the local councils and government have been sowing is now being reaped. Selective licensing costs will not help their cause.

  • icon

    The only conversation being had, will be with the tenants to find them emergency 🆘 accommodation.

  • icon

    Why is it now we have a mould problem after all the years of so called improvements, insulation and all kinds of Government Schemes. Last year was the warmest the World has ever know yet they want more & more insulation. I visited one of my places yesterday to replace a cracked bathroom hand basin with water peeing out on the floor as previously said, courtesy of a large glass candle jar wick holder embedded in solid candle grease but I don’t understand why they want candles, I remember we had them when we had no electricity.
    Anyway every door & window shut tight the heating on & no one home it would suffocate you, how is the house to get fresh air even vents taped. It’s worse now with smoke seals on fire doors the rooms are airtight not healthy at all just apply some washing on clothes horses, are people gone too soft.

  • icon

    Taxpayers will foot the bill for this open event discussion, just for the council to continue doing what they already have in mind.

    If the landlords agree to what the council says, then it’s a success. If the landlords don’t agree, then the council will claim that these few landlords that attended do not represent the entire landlord sector and therefore they’ll be going ahead with the plan anyway.

  • Franklin I

    Many private rental sector LLs have lost faith in the BTL sector.

    The government's actions towards councils are not as bad as what they have done to the PRS LLs. LLs are being hit by everyone, including the councils, who are now crying for support.

    The councils are one of the biggest culprits, and now they want our help. By the time the 'Renter reform bill' lands, you'll see another 20% of LLs exiting the BTL sector.

    It's got to the point where there's nothing to talk about. We all know how council-run boroughs have managed PRS LLs' properties on 10-year leases. Those 10-year leases were the equivalent of 20-year prison sentences for most LLs, and when we wanted to talk, it fell on deaf ears.
    If we managed the properties in the same manner as they did, under these proposed landlord licensing schemes, many of us would get fines on average of £30K and be sent to prison.

    However, this isn't applicable to the councils.



    Please can you elaborate on how the 10 year leases turned into 20 year prison sentences?

    Franklin I

    Hi Nick,

    I appreciate your engagement in this discussion. I'd like to clarify a point that seems to have caused some confusion.

    The comment about a "10-year lease turning into a 20-year prison sentence" is an analogy. It's a way of expressing the feeling of being trapped or confined in a situation that has become difficult or unbearable.

    In this context, the "10-year lease" represents a contract where a landlord hands over their property to the Council. The "20-year prison sentence" is a metaphorical way of describing the feeling of being stuck in this agreement for longer than expected, especially when the Council fails to uphold their end of the agreement, such as maintaining the property.

    This analogy is not meant to be taken literally. It's a tool used to convey the emotional experience of the situation. It underscores the importance of clear communication and understanding between both parties before entering into a lease agreement.

    I hope this explanation helps clarify the analogy. If you have any more questions or need further clarification, feel free to ask!


    Hi Franklin,

    Thank you for your detailed explanation.

    Have you actually leased a property to a council and successfully managed to regain possession of it from them?

    Franklin I

    Hi Nick,

    Yes, I have leased a property to a council and managed to regain possession of it.

    The experience was quite challenging and not something I would wish any landlord to go through. It's important for both parties in a lease agreement to understand and uphold their responsibilities to avoid such situations.


    Hi Franklin,

    I have a property leased to a council. I am concerned about getting it back. Please can you let me know will I automatically need to go to court to get the property back and need a lawyer? Please could you outline your experience?

    Franklin I

    Hi Nick,

    I had legal insurance that covered my eviction process, bailiffs, court fees, legal fees, as well as lost rent. However, when the tenant claimed full unemployment, I couldn't claim loss of rent/damages, simply because zero times zero equals zero, so to speak.

    I conducted my own investigations because this tenant was working in the hospital and legally claiming Universal Credit (UC), while also attending university as part of her training in the hospital as a nurse or midwife.
    I contacted UC, and they didn't seem to care. The local council didn't care either.

    I presented the same evidence to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and got a response within 2 days, after sending emails to UC for 4-5 weeks without reply. The tenant was out within 3 days. In short, the S21 notice served gave the tenant until July 28th, 2023 to vacate, but because of a severe breach, I got the tenant out by June 28th, 2023.

    I wasn't compensated by UC, and I complained to my local MP, who got a reply from the recently sacked Housing Minister Rachel Maclean, and she was just as useless as UC.

    I hope this gives you a clearer picture of my experience. Let me know if you have any other questions.


    Hi Franklin,
    I see. My tenant was useless paying the rent. I had to apply to the DWP direct for UC. They don't communicate. After a couple of months and nothing, and no real contact details I googled and on Property Tribes was a helpful UCspecialist who advised to contact the area managers. They are on the .gov.uk website too. They were helpful.

    The guy moved out. so she had to do a new claim. There's always a delay in paying. But the DWP don't tell me the MPTL has been cancelled. And the useless F tenant doesn't say anything. As I said earlier all this empowerment of these useless people is a total disaster.

    I have rented direct to a Council. The council are the tenant. I thought you had done the same. Sounds like you used a council scheme to find a tenant.

    Franklin I

    Hi Nick,

    I made the conscious decision to abstain from engaging with their fully managed service due to my awareness of the reputation established through the experiences of previous landlords and documented case studies.
    My approach was aimed at implementing a more tailored and personalised strategy, which didn't make much difference.


    Hi Nick,

    My father leased three flats in one house to a council for three years. They came back to him without any problem in so far as they were automatically returned to him with vacant possession at the end of the tenancy.

    However, they did not come back in good condition, except for one flat which had been let as temporary accommodation to Nigerian people! The woman looked after it very well and wrote that "God sent me to this flat" She was very religious and didn't take anything. I had helped to make the flats beautiful - bought new Italian dining room suites etc and put paintings on the walls. I made up the beds with very high quality bed linen and duvets etc.

    One of the other flats had been stripped of everything and everything was stolen- the council said there had been a "misunderstanding". The worst part was that the highest quality carpets possible were in the house and the council/housing association ripped them up in the flat that was stripped - again, apparently a mistake. The tenants had not been the thieves.

    The Council didn't put the flats back into good order but did make some payments in order two of them could be rendered habitable.


    Incidentally, that was during the period that the Rent Acts were in force. Letting to a local authority was one of the ways that you could get the property back at the end of the tenancy and not be saddled with sitting tenants.


    Just a word of caution about letting to local authorities for fixed periods of time. I think it is necessary to find out now what contract they will give their tenants.

    If the tenants are licensees there should be no problem in getting the houses back. It would be a different matter perhaps if the council gave the temporary occupants a tenancy.

    I believe that temporary housing will be excluded from the Renters Reform legislation, but we can't be absolutely certain about that at this stage.


    Those who sup with a council need a long, long, spoon.


    You are so right that you do need to be very cautious indeed, AL. The legislative framework for private landlords being proposed now is worse than it was under the Rent Acts.

    It seems that those framing the legislation have the idea that you either hand over the properties indefinitely to tenants or you sell them.

    A Labour election victory at some unknown point in 2024 also has to be factored in to decision making. And all decision making is very difficult because we don't have enough information to make good decisions.

    Who knows, for example, whether Labour will allow landlords to serve notice on student tenants?

  • icon

    “At the mercy of private landlords” There you have it. Oldham Council are just paying lip service, it’s still them and us, they won’t care what any Landlord has to say, they will make their own decision behind closed doors. Exactly like B(r)ent Council on their huge fanfare of selective licensing consultations, most of the findings were negative to what the Council asked but they still did their own thing anyway.

  • icon

    Surely it's private landlords who are at the mercy of the government and increasingly tenants who can stop paying rent and sit in the property for months, and then trash it. Yes you can take them to court but I'm still waiting on ex tenants to pay what they owe after 6 years.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    With you on that, managed to get the crackpots out of my flat on Saturday and the amount of sh1t they have left is incredible. The council did not know they had gone and told me to get a possession order?!? Boarded up until I can decide on what to do and change of locks is possession enough. Not waiting for an incompetent court system to issue an order or not issue.

    • A JR
    • 10 January 2024 10:43 AM

    Worried Ll: Yes, a fine example of ‘failed justice’ and a commonplace experience for so many of us.

  • Peter Lewis

    My two rentals that i let out are in Wales where the Labour Welsh government brought out a law some eight years ago called “Rent Smart Wales” supposedly to improve the way that the PRS behaved and rented out their property. All landlords in Wales have to abide by the new rules or they are not permitted to let out property.
    Firstly all landlords must register with “Rent Smart Wales” and pay a fee for doing so that is renewable every few years. Secondly if they wish to manage their properties themselves they then need to take a course and pass an exam and of course pay two extra fees that are renewable every few years. The alternative is that they can let their properties through an agent and we all know that using an agent can add up to 15% of any rent that may be asked, so of course the rent gets put up by 15%.
    For my registration fees and courses and exams In all of those eight years i have never been contacted by “Rent Smart Wales” to inform of new ‘Best practice’ any forthcoming legislation, or any new laws. I also have never been spot checked to see that i am abiding by these rules. Recently Wales has introduced a new way that private landlords can let their properties, no longer can landlords let on a short term lease, only on what is in effect an open contract that allows any tenant to stay as long as they wish, however with the forthcoming end of section 21 and proposals and in Wales to give tenants the right to purchase their rental property at a knock down price, you can understand why landlords in Wales are heading for the hills, as am i.
    I was contacted recently as one of my properties was becoming vacant by a lady whos son and girlfriend wanted a place to stay for a few months as they were expecting a child and looking for somewhere more permanent to live. Although i know the lady well i had to refuse as it is illegal for me to set a time for them to vacate the property. If i had agreed under Welsh rules i would be breaking the law and they would be entitled to enormous amounts of compensation. So they are sofa surfing as a direct result of the new legislation, and i am selling up.

    Franklin I

    Interesting Peter, I see that "Rent Smart Wales," only interest is the fees you pay to them periodically.

    When you sell up, they'll be complaining that LLs are selling up, which is why we have a shortage of housing.

    • A JR
    • 10 January 2024 10:57 AM

    Virtually compelling experienced knowledgable LL’s to use an ‘agent’ is an insult.
    Agents are not legally responsible, in the context of housing law. There is no certainty of adequate service, very little accountability and in my experience their incompetence has been a significant risk to my business. I accept some are good, but way too many are not.


    My agent was incredibly incompetent. Poor referencing, taking a 'banned fee' by overcharging the holding deposit + balance of the 1st months rent to be over a month's rent so illegal. Refusing to correct it. Also not filling out the deposit payment paperwork and refusing to change it, and not taking responsibility. They claimed to be all heart, but obviously didn't have on!


    well Nick you were using the wrong agent, small local independents who are also landlords beat the big nationals who employ daft young boys and girls fresh out of uni who know f all


    Andrew, that is me. A dual landlord and agent. Treat landlords' properties as if they were my own.


    Hi Peter.
    I too have had dealings with Rent (not so) Smart Wales.
    They are not proactive in seeking out rogue tenants, which was supposed to be the reason for which they were formed.
    I know of properties that are registered with them that wouldn't fit their suitability for habitation clause. However, they're still rented out with no corresponding improvement in the state of the building.
    They are just a useless QUANGO type organisation that achieve nothing other than persecuting good landlords and charging them for the inconvenience.

  • icon
    • A JR
    • 10 January 2024 10:09 AM

    Propagating yet another SL scheme will simply injure this councils intentions.
    LLs have completely ‘seen through’ these schemes for what they are ‘rigged, money grabbing, ineffective, bureaucratic and a lead-weight disincentive to the provision of rented housing.

  • icon

    It's not landlord control but Population Control this country needs.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Now Now Mike, you can't say that...!

    You mean to say the 8m a day spent on hotels and other nonsense should be channeled into building more houses so people have somewhere to live? I think the left would have something to say about that and maybe even a protest.


    Peter - and add some strikes?

  • John  Adams

    Please house all the people for us, and as a thank you we'll hammer you with Selective License fees and pretend to do inspections to drive up standards - even though we already have an obligation to inspect properties and the ability to isssue fines to non compliant landlords.... But let's punish you all and then ask for your help...

    When did this country suddenly become over run with the stupid in the corridors of power? Was there some sort of "stupidity covid variant" they all caught?

  • icon

    I haven’t read all the Posts, so someone may have already covered this.

    We don’t need more Houses, we need less immigrants, then there would be housing for People born and bred here. As it is they seem to take 2nd place after migrants, because it would be racism not to give them a house.
    This Country is in a serious mess, with all the stupid Human rights, racism, and gender equality.

  • Mick Roberts

    Well said Michael.
    Councils and Govt gonna look back in around 7 years I think it will take, and say
    Wow, we din't realise, but Selective Licensing has caused so much homeless and increased rents and hurt far FAR MORE tenants than the few it has helped. We got it so wrong.


    Will Beadle and Norris admit that too? II left Gove out because he is unlikely to be in Parliament by then.

  • icon

    Mr Gove have no worries he will always get in as labour it’s he who gave labour Councils permission to make Selective Licensing Borough wide that was ever only meant to be for problem areas. All Schemes were supposed to be non profit what happened to that ? Maybe I go it wrong it must have meant non profit for Landlords.


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