Action by Croydon Council against bad or ‘rogue’ landlords was the consensus that emerged at its consultation meeting yesterday on the proposed selective landlord licensing scheme.
The mainly landlord and agent dominated gathering rejected the licensing scheme. The mainly small scale landlords present saw themselves as good landlords some of whom would get out of the business if the scheme went through. This was because they saw as unrealistic and possibly unlawful expectations on them to police anti-social behaviour of their tenants. They were also concerned that the cost of registering under the scheme which would have to be passed on the tenants, many of whom were already struggling with inadequate incomes. It also appeared that banks would end mortgages to them and insurance companies end cover if landlords were signed up to such a scheme.
Most of the debate was taken up with criticisms of the consultation process. Many landlords and agents had not been informed about the first stage of the consultation, and few tenants knew about it.
The representative of the National Landlords Association stressed that bad landlords will try and get around any controls that were implemented. His Association was not anti-licensing but it needed to be targeted to specific streets. There was suspicion that it was a revenue raising measure.
Cabinet member Alison Butler did her best to try and reassure those present that the Council had listened during the first stage of consultation e.g. by reducing the proposed registration fee and said the aim was not to prosecute but to work with landlords to raise standards. She welcomed details of the legal and financial issues raised.
While I had gone to the meeting supportive of the proposed scheme, it became clear to me that a broader strategy to tackle bad landlords was needed. I suggested:
- that the consultation period be extended;
- that more effort be made to reach landlords, agents and tenants.
- that those present ask the local MPs to vote for the Tenant (Reform) Bill being discussed today designed to end revenge evictions against tenants who complain
- that they also urge the Council to support the Shelter anti-rogue landlord statement.
- that the NLA facilitate a group of those present to draft an anti-bad landlord strategy for the Council to consider.
The consultation ends on 12 December. The details can be seen at
Note – Numbers surveyed
Since this posting was loaded up the consultancy MEL organising the consultation has sent round the following clarification.
‘This afternoon I checked with my postal survey team on the size of the database we had received from the Council to enable the initial stage postal survey to landlords, agents and other interested parties. The database contained 9,144 records and not the stated 928 I mentioned yesterday. My apologies for this error.’