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A Warning to All Landlords Over Selective Licensing Schemes

The recent unveiling by several London councils of selective licensing schemes should raise concerns among private sector landlords - especially 'amateur' landlords.

Amateur landlords, or 'accidental landlords' are the ones who inherit a property or move in with a partner and decide to rent out the property.

They may not have lots of experience as a landlord and simply want to pay the mortgage or earn money by having tenants.


New schemes, or the expansion of current schemes, have been revealed by the councils of Brent, Lambeth, Lewisham and Islington.

Phil Turtle, a legal expert at Landlord Licensing & Defence points to the licensing scheme in Brent and says: "The scheme requires landlords to pay £840 to Brent Council, which in return issues a council licence.

"This licence is filled with draconian conditions that, if not complied with, can result in criminal offences punishable at Level 5 on the criminal scale, leading to unlimited fines and a criminal record.

"Landlords, particularly those who are not legally trained, do not realise the implications of these licence conditions until it is too late.

"The occupancy of their properties may also be reduced in their licence below that permitted by legislation, leading to further fines for the council's coffers.

“No-one understands why councils across the land are on a mission to reduce the number of people who can live in each property but at Landlord Licensing & Defence we see it happening more and more.”

He says the schemes are targeting two groups of landlords: The first group includes good landlords who already comply with most regulations and provide decent accommodation so are being charged simply to confirm they are doing a decent job (and make them liable to prosecution for many more things).

The second group includes amateur or accidental landlords who, despite providing decent accommodation, may fall prey to heavy fines due to their lack of awareness about the licensing schemes.

Turtle says: "Interestingly, landlords providing substandard housing, who deliberately avoid licensing their properties, seem to escape the council's enforcement efforts.

"Despite the billions earned by councils from licensing schemes, the number of actual rogue landlords found and enforced against is minimal. Instead, the councils target well-meaning landlords and maliciously brand them as rogue landlords when they are nothing of the sort."

Turtle believes the licensing fee is a significant burden, particularly for smaller landlords.

Those landlords may also be liable for hefty fines for non-compliance - which can be up to £30,000 per offence.

Turtle continues: "This raises ethical concerns, as these landlords often provide good-quality housing.

"We are concerned that the schemes prioritise easy targets – responsible and inexperienced landlords – over those deliberately providing poor housing.

"That then raises massive doubts about the scheme's effectiveness in addressing the core issue of substandard housing."

Landlord Licensing & Defence says councils should prioritise a transparent and evidence-based approach to improving housing standards. They should also collaborate with landlords and invest in targeted enforcement against landlords offering poor quality housing as a more effective approach.

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  • icon

    We all know it’s legalised theft 👮🏻‍♀️ , but those that can stop it…. Are the ones committing it 😲🤷‍♂️


    And when it says Councils earned from! Earned! Indeed legalised theft.


    Councils earned? That is like saying footballers earn million or Lineker earns millions from the BBC. They don't earn anything.

  • Sarah Fox-Moore

    Ahhh yes, PROPERTY; the vending machine (with a coin stuck in it, keeping it open) of the Government who yank away on that handle like a 15 year old lad with a Playboy magazine


    You’ve just described my youth 😂

  • icon

    It’s just a money grab, it was only ever supposed to be used in problem parts of the Borough not more than 3 parts but so called Housing Secretary Mr Michael Gove is so full of himself he’s above the Law and makes his own rules. So why bother to vote or why are we having an Election

  • Franklin I

    The article mentions Lewisham Council, and it is important to note that Lewisham Council operates another department known as Lewisham Homes, which is responsible for managing properties on behalf of LLs.

    Upon examining the alarming reviews left by disgruntled LLs on platforms like Trustpilot, it becomes apparent that properties managed by Lewisham Homes often exhibit substandard conditions.

    A significant discrepancy arises in the treatment of "PRS" LLs compared to those associated with the council. "PRS" LLs who neglect their properties risk substantial fines and potential imprisonment for similar infractions. It is ironic that the same councils, including Lewisham Council and its housing arm, Lewisham Homes, which struggle to meet LLs' expectations in property management, now find themselves in the role of enforcing housing standards.

    This disparity raises pertinent questions about the consistency and fairness of enforcement measures within the housing sector, particularly when council-managed properties overseen by entities like Lewisham Homes do not meet the same rigorous standards that private LLs are expected to uphold.


    Consistency and fairness are not on this councils agenda nor is an iota of respect for the PRS. All too common place with many councils across the the U.K.

  • icon

    I know about Selecting Licensing having had to comply in the past having had to licence 4/5 times because unfortunately I had property in South Acton which was an area repeatedly picked on by Ealing Council together with part of Greenford and part of Southall, June last year they reintroduced it again for 3 area but this left Greenford out and replaced it with another. Anyhow along comes Mr Michael Gove in September same year and gives the Council permission to make scheme Borough wide which was brought in on 3rd of January 2024. However one of my properties is no longer licensable as I have reduced the occupancy from 4 to 2 so I don’t need it anymore well done Licensing Authority less accommodation available more homeless and I take a hit as well.
    It is my contention it should never have been required to be licence as it was renovated and completed Certificate obtained to the 1992 Building Regulations Standards, the reason given as the purpose of the Scheme is to improve Standards but it was already Compliant.

  • Jaeger  Von Toogood

    Time to raise the rents, folks!

    Reform uk 🇬🇧


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