Although legislation regarding the private rented sector is made at national Government level, it is local Government which implements and enforces regulations.
Local authorities also have discretionary powers to introduce additional and selective licensing, planning restrictions such as Article 4 Directions and guidance on minimum room sizes above the nationally-set legal minimum.
Our work in this area includes:
Licensing and enforcement
Local authorities have responsibility for housing in their local areas. This includes oversight of the private rented sector and different local authorities take different approaches, depending on the nature of the PRS in their area, as well as political inclination.
The majority of landlords comply with the regulations in the sector but a small minority of criminal landlords ignore the law. It is up to the local authority to use their significant enforcement powers to root these criminals out of the sector. Our research however shows that this is often not the case.
Instead of using their powers to identify and tackle the small number of criminals, local authorities often prefer to penalise good landlords through blanket licensing schemes that have little to no effect. This serves to increase the costs for the majority of landlords who wish to provide good quality homes, while doing little to stop the criminal landlords who will continue to ignore their legal obligations.
- Local authorities to be held to account and provide evidence of the impact of licensing schemes
- Proper use of discretionary licensing schemes to address specific problems, rather than poorly implemented borough-wide
- Standardised enforcement policies so the law is applied consistently and fairly across the country
- Better use of data to tackle criminal landlords
- Properly resourced local authorities
Last Updated: 22/07/2020
Local authorities are in charge of granting planning permission in the area. Many landlords make use of 'permitted development rights', which enable property owners to make some changes to properties without seeking planning permission. However, they also have the power to introduce Article 4 Directions which remove these. This has a particular impact on the conversion of single dwelling properties (class C3) to small HMO (class C4) with three to six occupants in two or more households.
- Article 4 Directions distort the market. Where they are introduced, as well as discouraging or preventing the conversion of properties to small HMO, they also mean that existing HMO are unlikely to be converted to family homes as they would lose their planning rights.
- We believe landlords should retain permitted development rights and be able to convert between single household and small HMO (with up to six sharers) as determined by demand in the market.
- Local authorities should use their appropriate enforcement powers, rather than planning permissions, to address quality, condition and environmental issues.
Last Updated: 22/07/2020