ARLA warns ministers that ‘landlord licensing schemes do not work and never will’

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.”


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  1. Breaking Dad

    ARLA have zero influence at governmental level, being completely ignored by policy makers on the Tenant Fees Act shows how little they are regarded in the corridors of power.  Whatever their beliefs are seem irrelevant unless they can somehow muster a backbone and actually negotiate something to the industries favour.

  2. The_Maluka

    Is a property MOT something like a Home Information Pack?  A Dodo?

  3. Jay2Oh61

    In my view it is essential that private, non-compliant Landlords (of which most self managed are without even realising it) are brought in line with the same strict regulation that Agents have to comply with. CMP, PI, compliance and competency tests, etc etc etc etc. Failure to licence privately managed Landlords will result in anarchy in the PRS. I’m all for an end to this continuous over regulation….if there’s a level paying field for everyone. Here’s an idea…… If the Government want a fully compliant residential lettings industry, then  then create tax breaks for Landlords who have their property managed by a regulated Agent.


    1. seenitall

      Agree with Jay20h61   Agents are now hevily regulated – the big elephant is the private landlord  – not regulated at all.        Agents have had to up their game, jump through hoops, pay a lot more in costs yet the private landlord who is most likely ignorant or ignores a lot of the regulations are not registered or regulated.  Where is Shelter in all this?       Does the govt want to help tenants or just bash agents?     Get landlords regulated improve their standards so tenants have equal protection.  Any incentive for a landlord to use a regulated agent would be nice for a change.   Why is ARLA/NALS agains this?   Im not and a member of NALS  – not asked me for my view as a letting agent.

      1. Will2

        Why not insist that all agents are fully qualified chartered surveyors mrics or frics if standards are to be maintained (not associaterics). that way we will know the agents will be compliant or removed from membership.

        1. IWONDER36

          Agents who are out there for all to see are not usually the problem, yes some are better than others, but you only have to ask their tenants and landlords as a barometer of their worth and competency.

          The bigger problem, the one nobody wants to highlight are all the newsagents, takeaways and ex-pubs, or non licensed HMO’s that pack in immigrants, or other desperate people into overcrowded and unsafe spaces just to take advantage of them.

          The owners of these places, and those who come here to let and then sub-let to the vulnerable is where money needs to be spent on tackling this crime. A crime in which no tax is collected and the profits of which often disappear of-shore.

          The problem with governing bodies is that they govern the wrong people, they over-govern, they make businesses all the same, often for the worse, not better.

          Landlords and tenants are attracted to agents with a good track record, great customer service on both sides, a sense of fairness, the ability to communicate on any level, and who provide good quality, safe homes with little rent arrears or property damage.

          Agents that don’t do this don’t survive, but it seems to be the intention to force all independents out of business, which then only leaves the greedy fat cats, and an increase in unregulated, tax dodging, slum landlords, and inevitably increased homelessness.

      2. seenitall

        is it just me or does it appear in many apsect that David Cox of ARLA is doing everything possible AGAINST things that would help or assist agents?
        Why would he not want private landlords to provide the same level of redress/safety that agents have to provide?  perhaps EYE could ask him? 
        A level playing field would be nice.

  4. LetItGo

    Landlord licensing is precisely the way ahead – Private LL should either be licensed or use a licensed Agent. ARLA should be supporting that view, RLA should be against it.

    1. DarrelKwong43

      100% agree….

      For me, the biggest dangers are the self managing landlords, with zero to little knowledge.

      TBH, they should want to better educated to better protected themselves. Dealt with one landlord, who had to pay out £10k in compensation because he did not understand deposit compliance.

      1. seenitall

        As per DarrelKwong43   We had a sucessfull letting of a landlords property – absouluty no issues as we worked hard, did the right checks and got the paperwork done correctly.    After the tenants left the landlord wanted to DIY the letting themselves. Told us they would advertise on Gumtree and manage themselves.   I suggested she didnt as she didnt have a clue as to what to do but she wanted to so said fair enough if you wish to DIY but please dont use gumtree. Anyway  a year later she comes in asking for our helps and copies of our old adverts and other old paperwork relating to the tenants that we had sucessful let – why?   The new tenants she put in and found on Gumtree had stopped paying the rent and put in a claim for disrepair and deposit claim.   She hadnt kept a proper record of maintenance issues, had such a poor inventory it was worthless, did not protect the deposit correctly, had not issued a how to rent booklet and not even kept decent records of the few rent payments she had received.  No references were taken up by her.    Last I heard was that it was costing her approx £12,000 + solicitors fees to get them out.
        Private landlords need protecting from themselves !   which will also protect the tenants which also help regulated agents.  Is a Win/win/win for all.

  5. corset1

    I have to say i find ARLA highly frustrating, they have failed to really offer any discussion at government level in reaction to the half truths from shelter et al. Frankly they seem more interested in selling training courses and establishing themsleves as a the sole voice of the industry when they are not. I am member of ARLA but my view is that they are slow to act, incoherant and largely ineffectual. They seem unable to offer solutions and largely react slowly and oddly to many situations. The failure for them to get more agents on board speaks volumes about how they are preceived, public awareness is about zero and that is refelected in their influence in government. The directors taking the cheques need to take a good look in the mirror!


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