Agents and landlords have slammed recommendations made in an official review of selective licensing schemes.
The review has backed continuing the schemes and also recommended the creation of a national landlord register.
The review suggests this would provide easy access to data on who should have a licence.
But ARLA Propertymark chief executive David Cox said: “Licensing schemes do not work, and never will.
“They are not an effective way of promoting higher quality accommodation, and introducing landlord registration will not be the silver bullet to improve the effectiveness of property licensing. Local authorities need investment to enforce the wide range of legislation that already exists.”
Alternatively, he said, the Government should create a “property MOT” that would cover all elements of property condition, energy efficiency and other legal requirements and involve regular inspections to ensure a home is passed as suitable.
Isobel Thomson, chief executive of safeagent, formerly NALS, was also sceptical.
She said: “The review recommends a national landlord registration scheme, but it is not clear whether such a scheme would be an additional level of bureaucracy on top of selective licensing or an alternative to it.
“The sector needs a solution which will root out rogue landlords and not one where good landlords face a complex array of licensing schemes and escalating costs.
“The review has quite rightly identified that enforcement is key to any scheme being effective.
“Isn’t it about time then for Government to pull together an effective enforcement strategy across the private rented sector – putting enough resources into it to really have an impact and improve the rental experience for tenants?”
The Residential Landlords Association also criticised proposals for a register, instead calling for more effective enforcement, while the National Landlords Association (NLA) claimed the report ignored its suggestion of requiring local authorities to conduct an annual assessment of the effectiveness of licensing schemes.
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NLA, said: “Far too often we see local authorities failing to live up to their side of selective licensing.
“It’s shameful that the review has ignored our call for regular reporting against schemes’ published objectives, which would be easy to implement and would actually hold councils to account.
“The majority of selective licensing schemes are introduced without any thought having been given to their implementation, funding and enforcement, leading to good landlords paying for effectively nothing.
“For the most part, selective licensing has failed to root out the bad landlords, and the recommendations in the report will do very little to change that.
“The suggestion to introduce a national registration of landlords and a property MOT would be a viable alternative to selective licensing, but would need to be well thought out and proportionate to avoid an unnecessary burden on good landlords.”