Licensing Lewisham's landlords - have your say

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Tim Lund
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Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Licensing Lewisham's landlords - have your say

Post by Tim Lund » 9 Aug 2019 09:30

From my friends at Generation Rent
Lewisham Council has new plans to tackle negligent landlords and protect tenants from mistreatment.

The council wants to hear from local residents - especially tenants - about these plans, which would mean all landlords in the borough would need a licence to provide homes.

Have your say by 20 August at their consultation page here.

Generation Rent supports landlord licensing because it makes it easier for councils to crack down on landlords who fail to provide safe homes or dodge their responsibilities. Also, by knowing exactly who is renting out property, the authorities can make sure landlords pay their fair share of tax.

Please take a few minutes to complete the council's survey - and let us know when you do.

Thanks,

Generation Rent
http://www.generationrent.org/

Generation Rent · Unit E03 The Biscuit Factory, 100 Clements Road, London SE16 4DG, United Kingdom
You can also keep up with Generation Rent on Twitter or Facebook.

I've not read through the proposal, so I don't feel quite ready to respond, but FWIW, I think some kind of licencing system is needed, because local authorities need to know about housing in their area. I'm not anti PRS or landlords at all, so I'd not want a licence fees set at a level designed to discourage landlords renting out properties, or investing in the PRS. Arguments about private renting in this country are far too polarised, with landlords too often demonised, as well, sometimes, as their tenants, who are seen as causing anti-social behaviour. It doesn't have to be like that, but for things to work better, some local government involvement will be needed, and it will need to be funded, which is why a sensible level of licencing is appropriate.

mosy
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Re: Licensing Lewisham's landlords - have your say

Post by mosy » 9 Aug 2019 15:50

The trouble with schemes like this which purport to make things better don't work. For example, the council is fully aware of properties that it controls and yet lack of essential repairs being done is continuously notorious. If they can't or won't police themselves, why would a licence for landlords achieve anything? Unless a council has a national statutory power to take meaningful action against "naughty" landlords then all a worthless piece of paper will achieve is extra excessive administration and maybe the ability to try to catch tax avoiding landlords, but as with all things, tax avoiders manage to stay under the radar.

Also inevitably it means that rents will rise to cover the cost - and rents are impossibly high already. It will be the good landlords and tenants who suffer.

I'm open to any alternative views to mine of course. I'm not a landlord by the way.

John H
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Re: Licensing Lewisham's landlords - have your say

Post by John H » 9 Aug 2019 19:16

mosy wrote:
9 Aug 2019 15:50
The trouble with schemes like this which purport to make things better don't work. For example, the council is fully aware of properties that it controls and yet lack of essential repairs being done is continuously notorious. If they can't or won't police themselves, why would a licence for landlords achieve anything? Unless a council has a national statutory power to take meaningful action against "naughty" landlords then all a worthless piece of paper will achieve is extra excessive administration and maybe the ability to try to catch tax avoiding landlords, but as with all things, tax avoiders manage to stay under the radar.

Also inevitably it means that rents will rise to cover the cost - and rents are impossibly high already. It will be the good landlords and tenants who suffer.

I'm open to any alternative views to mine of course. I'm not a landlord by the way.
Good points. Furthermore Lewisham should look to its own properties. Having conducted a survey of almost every household in Sydenham I concluded that most of Lewisham's housing stock in Sydenham is not fit for human habitation. Unsafe stairways, crumbling structures etc. etc. etc.

Ghlpc
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Re: Licensing Lewisham's landlords - have your say

Post by Ghlpc » 9 Aug 2019 22:11

Agree John H.

Let's cut the crap and say what it really is.

A revenue making scheme for the council.

mosy
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Re: Licensing Lewisham's landlords - have your say

Post by mosy » 10 Aug 2019 11:47

But would it make revenue in excess of costs, if so how as it beats me? Or does empire building come into it as well at others' expense?

Tim Lund
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Location: Silverdale

Re: Licensing Lewisham's landlords - have your say

Post by Tim Lund » 10 Aug 2019 19:31

Seems to me you're either a free market fundamentalist, who thinks there's no role for the state, here in regulating the private rental sector, or else that there is, in which case you need to come up with how you think it should be done best.

So, mosy, John H, ghlpc, let's be hearing your positive ideas, or else that you are happy for renters to just get screwed

Ghlpc
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Re: Licensing Lewisham's landlords - have your say

Post by Ghlpc » 10 Aug 2019 22:36

I have no problem with the council wanting to regulate this area, someone has too of course.

But they should practice what they preach, some of their places are awful, I've seen them.

BUT back on topic, they (and many other London Borough's to be fair) take the piss.

For me to obtain a HMO license in Lewishman (after the initial cost of bringing the house up to fire safety standards and confirming with guidelines - fair enough) it costs £500 per dwelling - ie per room, for the license. £500!!! How can that be justified as a reasonable charge?

A 5 bed house for example will cost £2500 for a license.

No wonder many Landlords don't bother with it and rent their houses out anyway.

So if they want to license all private rented properties for the right reasons (inspecting them and raising living standards), keep the fee fair and affordable. If they charge too much it will have little effect other than by generating an income.

mosy
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Re: Licensing Lewisham's landlords - have your say

Post by mosy » 11 Aug 2019 10:38

Tim Lund wrote:
10 Aug 2019 19:31
...[clip]...
So, mosy, John H, ghlpc, let's be hearing your positive ideas, or else that you are happy for renters to just get screwed
Renters will get screwed either way as most rental contracts include a clause that the rent takes account only of current official taxes etc and if new ones are imposed the rent will increase accordingly.

My point was that the council has no teeth to enforce repairs, so will probably resort to a fine which, like fines on banks etc, is passed to the customer. So higher rents and still no repairs.

If the council's main aim is to take stock of existing rental housing, (as has been reported), neither landlords nor tenants should be singled out to pay the associated admin cost. A simple survey would achieve the answer sought as any below the radar would not respond so could not be considered as housing stock for future planning.

I'm not saying leave well (unwell) alone, I'm saying that any plan to spend local tax take has to demonstrate how it expects to provide benefits, not just costs and penalties.

It should also be remembered perhaps that, assuming a property is habitable and not dangerous, the lower rent is all that some can manage and could be priced out altogether effectively being made homeless. The council used to have a policy that it would never act to make anyone homeless but maybe that's changed. Actually it must have as witnessed by those made homeless due to universal credit - have they learned nothing?

Also, isn't low income why people stay in below par (dire) council properties? Would more homeless people be considered a successful result despite the trumpeting of reducing under par abodes?

Tim Lund, it is not for me to put forward alternatives. It is for the people proposing the scheme to properly justify their own proposals.

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