Councillor Gill Williams, Labour’s housing spokesperson, is today taking an amendment to the council’s Housing Committee to push again for landlord licensing to improve conditions for renters in the city. She states her case for stronger enforcement here:
I am disappointed to say the least that I find myself yet again fighting to implement landlord licensing. Despite this being agreed in our joint working programme, the Green administration allowed a recommendation in the Housing Committee paper on the private rental sector that there was insufficient evidence to continue with the application.
I have been working very hard alongside Brighton & Hove CAB and Acorn to gather support and evidence to assist in this application and I thank them deeply for their invaluable input and efforts. Despite assurances, this has been ignored.
This is why I am moving an amendment to make sure we continue with our commitment to strive for landlord licensing.
Selective licensing schemes are a key weapon in the battle to improve standards in the private rented sector. More than 50 councils in England now operate landlord licensing schemes where local authorities are demanding landlords sign up to codes of conduct.
Last year, the government conducted a review into selective licensing. It concluded schemes were effective ‘when implemented properly’.
We must take full advantage of the legal framework we have at our disposal and introduce selective landlord licensing in our city.
Whilst many landlords in our city behave responsibly, this is reliant all too often on good will.
Only days ago it was reported that almost half of renters in the South East have suffered illegal acts by landlords. It cannot be denied that there is a huge problem of poor treatment of tenants who cannot rely on so-called ‘rights’ due to lack of enforceability and lack of power.
More locally, Brighton & Hove CAB research has provided damning evidence on the plight of renters.
Their research clearly shows that the wards which have been earmarked for selective licensing are indeed the worst areas for repair and maintenance problems. These are Brunswick and Adelaide, St Peters and North Laine, Regency & Queens Park. It is a nonsense to claim that there is not enough evidence to justify implementing a landlord licensing scheme.
It is acknowledged that the evidence demanded by the framework is robust and stringent. However, we must move away from arguing whether or not we should implementing landlord licensing to focussing on how best we can gather the required data and work together with the council and community organisations to make this happen.
Over one third of our residents live in the private rental sector on short term tenancies. If they complain they risk losing their tenancy. Their home. Landlord licensing would at least afford people with the knowledge that they can rely on the licensing regulators to ensure standards. Surely it is the least we can do.
If anyone is interested in help to support landlord licensing please do get in touch.
Cllr Gill Williams
Labour Group spokesperson for Housing
Image: Deposit Photos