The Council’s consultation on the proposed selective licensing scheme for private landlords closes this coming Friday, 12 December. So far the consultation and public debate has been dominated by private landlords and lettings agents. Most tenants do not know about the consultation. There have been several developments to try and ensure that more tenants can express their views.
Croydon Generation Rent
A Croydon group of the campaign Generation Rent has been established and started a petition to support the scheme. http://croydon.generationrent.org
Croydon Unite Retired Members Branch
On my proposal the branch has adopted a resolution calling for an extension of the consultation period beyond 12 December, and for the Croydon Assembly housing group to work towards setting up a tenants organisation – see full text below.
Councillors and Tenant Consultation
One of the many questions asked of Cllr Alison Butler about the scheme by members of the public at the Council meeting on 1 December was from Glen Hart, prospective TUSC Parliamentary candidate, who asked if ward based public meetings for tenants were planned. Butler replied that none were planned but that Councillors could organise their own. (PW£089-14): http://www.croydon.gov.uk/contents/documents/meetings/548170/691212/691218/1355632/1-dec-14-written-questions-from-public.pdf.
I have emailed Labour Councillors asking them to let me know whether they have organised a meeting (date, time and venue) for tenants in their ward on the licensing scheme before the close of consultation on 12 December, or whether they have asked for the consultation period to be extended to give them time to organise such a meeting.
NLA Claim Re- Area Based Licensing
It has been reported that the Council has agreed to a National Landlords Association proposal that the scheme based on smaller areas rather than the Borough as a whole. http://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/1252-council-rethinks-landlord-licensing-scheme.
I have emailed Alison Butler to ask whether the report about the NLA/Council agreement is correct or not. ‘If it is correct it would appear to pre-empt the outcome of the consultation.’
Tenants at Consultation Disadvantage
Tenants are at a disadvantage because there are no printed copies of the consultation document and can only access it via the web; those with no home based internet will have to know about it to go into a library or the Access Croydon area at Bernard Weatherill House. I have emailed Alison Butler about the lack of print copies of the consultation document, adding that: ‘This does not seem to be within the spirit of the administration’s wish to be more open and transparent to residents.’
Unite Retired Members Resolution
‘This Unite, Croydon Retired Members branch, given the problems with rogue landlords, increasing rent levels, and a high incidence of unfitness and disrepair in the private rented sector, welcomes the Croydon Council’s consultation on introducing a licensing scheme, under which all private rented sector landlords (other than those with houses in multiple occupation) will have to register.
It notes that few tenants appear to know about the consultation and that the period for public comment is short, at only four weeks ending on 12 December.
This branch urges Councillor Alison Butler, the relevant Cabinet member, to extend the consultation period to at least the end of January, and instruct the officers and the consultation consultants to concentrate their efforts on finding out the views of tenants.
It also requests the Croydon Assembly working group on housing, to start work on seeking to organise private tenants in the Borough, so that they can collectively lobby for a comprehensive strategy on the private rented sector by the Croydon Council.’
Note: The Council consultation documents can be accessed at http://www.croydon.gov.uk/housing/privatehousing/selective-licensing