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Councils lobby Ministers not to scrap selective licencing schemes Published Date: 16/04/2024

The Local Government Association (LGA) has urged Minister to ignore rebel MPs’ calls for selective licencing to be scrapped.

According to reports, the LGA said agreeing to an amendment to the Renters Reform Bill, removing councils’ ability to designate selective licensing areas, would be a mistake after the government promised to announce a review, “with the explicit aim of reducing burdens on landlords”.

The LGA, which is led by Joanna Killian (main picture, inset), believes schemes will continue to be an important tool for councils to manage and improve private rented properties in their areas when the reforms, including a national property portal, are introduced.

It also wants the government to amend the Housing Act 2004 to remove the requirement for councils to seek approval for larger selective licensing schemes. A spokesman adds: “An evaluation of the effectiveness of the reforms to ensure they are delivering the anticipated outcomes - including an enhanced ability of councils to regulate the private rented sector - should be undertaken before any consideration is given to phasing out local authority selective licensing.”

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has voiced similar concerns about a new property portal threatening the future of selective licensing.

The LGA opposes another amendment to the Bill which would exclude the introduction of Rent Repayment Orders. It says: “We believe that local housing authorities and tenants should be able to seek RROs from landlords that do not comply with the landlord register, property portal, or mis-use grounds for eviction.

“RROs would act as an additional deterrent for non-compliance. They would also incentivise tenants to understand their rights and report non-compliance, which would strengthen councils’ enforcement work and reduce the burden on local authorities.”