Ministers Consider National Registration Scheme in England to Target Dishonest Homeowners | Lodging


Pressure is mounting on the government to put in place a registration program to help councils target dishonest landlords who rent thousands of unsafe homes to families.

A white paper outlining the government’s plans to raise standards in the private rental sector, including a possible national landlord register that would bring England into line with the rest of the UK, is expected by winter.

New analysis of official figures from activist group Generation Rent shows that English councils that require rental properties to be registered under local licensing regimes are more than twice as effective at eliminating the most serious dangers than authorities without no form of registration.

The analysis reveals that 32 UK councils with selective licensing programs identified an average of 158 dangerous outbreaks each in 2019-2020, compared to an average of 63 in 200 councils without such programs.

Boards with authorization regimes have also taken more action to eliminate the dangers they discovered, with an average of 85% of unsafe homes being secured. Local authorities without a program solved only 65% ​​of the risks, such as dangerous electrics, extreme cold and severe overcrowding.

Brent, in north London, and Leeds, which register all owners in some areas, have succeeded in eliminating the most serious health risks from hundreds of homes, as figures provided to the government by borough councils of Copeland and Barrow – both in Cumbria – who do not. register all owners, suggest that they have not removed the dangers they have found. Both councils contend that the risks were addressed by other means.

Almost 70% of councils with licensing regimes are controlled by workers, with the Labor stronghold of Newham in east London becoming in 2013 the first authority to grant licenses to landlords in an entire borough. However, the government granted powers to allow ministers to block major programs in 2015. A city-wide program in Liverpool was scrapped last year after the government withdrew its support.

The number of families renting from private owners has doubled since 1997, but the sector rightly has a bad reputation. Private tenants are almost twice as likely as social tenants to live in substandard housing, with around 1.1 million private rented dwellings not meeting minimum standards.

Generation Rent said registration would provide law enforcement authorities with valuable information about the area, make it easier to educate tenants about their rights and prevent criminals from renting homes.

“Existing licensing programs have clearly helped boards identify unsafe homes and bring them up to standard, but the vast majority of private tenants are not protected by them,” said Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent.

A report from the Center for Public Data, due for release next week, shows that only 7% of private rental accommodation in England is covered by licensing schemes, while landlords are required to register all properties in Scotland, in Wales and Northern Ireland.

He found that a registry would increase tax revenue by identifying underreported homeowners’ income. HMRC estimates that landlords did not pay £ 540million in rental income tax in 2019.

The CFPD said a national registry would be cheaper to run and more efficient than the current patchwork of regimes. “In England you have to sign up to run a take-out or work as an art therapist, but anyone can own a home – remarkable considering how dangerous it is to live on a property with hardwiring, boilers. or faulty mold, ”said Anna Powell. Smith, director of the CFPD.

A spokesperson for the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities said, “We are committed to creating a fairer private rental sector and are considering the introduction of a national landlord registry as part of a commitment to address rental housing standards.

The Copeland City Council spokesperson said the isolated figures were misleading. He said he had in all cases helped tenants find suitable accommodation. “Although it is reported that the required improvements were not carried out directly by our authority, the appropriate response was given in each case, including the issuance of notices requiring the owners to carry out work and rehousing. [tenants]. ”

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