Bombshell as Cameron announces mandatory licensing of landlords

Prime minister David Cameron is set to introduce a mandatory licensing regime of private landlords.

What is being described as a bombshell is outlined in a speech Cameron gave yesterday on immigration.

Most commentators have so far focused on his announcement that the current ‘right to rent’ trial in the midlands whereby landlords or their agents must check the immigration status of tenants is to be rolled out nationwide.

But Cameron added that a new mandatory licensing regime will be introduced.

There are no details, for example as to timing, how it would be enforced, or whether it will include letting agents.

However, this does seem highly likely given that agents act for landlords and can legally bear responsibility for ‘right to rent’ checks and other duties.

Until now, the Tories have always rejected any such policy, and it did not appear in their election manifesto.

The last Labour administration said it wanted landlord – and letting agents – licensing but never introduced it.

But this is what Cameron said: “There are other ways we can identify those who shouldn’t be here, for example through housing. For the first time we’ve had landlords checking whether their tenants are here legally.

“The Liberal Democrats only wanted us to run a pilot on that one. But now we’ve got a majority, we will roll it out nationwide, and we’ll change the rules so landlords can evict illegal immigrants more quickly.

“We’ll also crack down on the unscrupulous landlords who cram houses full of illegal migrants, by introducing a new mandatory licensing regime. And, a bit like ending jobs when visas expire, we’ll consult on cancelling tenancies automatically at the same point.

“It’s not just through housing and jobs; we can track down illegal migrants through the banking system too.”

After Eye’s breaking news story went out this afternoon (Friday), reaction came in from industry bodies.

David Cox, ARLA managing director, said this evening: “We are pleased to see the Government listened to our housing manifesto calls for greater regulation of the private rented sector.

“However, whilst this is a step in the right direction, it’s not the full solution to the problem of rogue agents plaguing the market. We urge the Government to take this opportunity and impose more appropriate, over-arching regulation on the whole lettings industry.

“We look forward to hearing the full details of the plans in the Queen’s Speech next week.”

Also this evening, the Residential Landlords Association said it is writing to immigration minister James Brokenshaw, seeking an urgent meeting.

It said the proposals “raise many questions”.

RLA chairman Alan Ward said: “No form of universal licensing of rented property is proven to capture the most unscrupulous landlords. As so often, the devil will be in the detail.”

 The full Cameron speech is here


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  1. Herb

    Licencing but no one knows how, why, who, when?

  2. Michael

    We already have to snoop for HMRC (I have a spyglass for this work), now border agency controls? Sure, may I have a semi automatic pistol too now please? I promise to only use it on illegal immigrants and badgers (or should that read foxes?)

  3. wilko

    Isn’t it funny how the PM has addressed every issue of concern connected with the rental sector(immigration thrown in for good measure) and said he’ll “sort it”…… detail of course……now we sit back and see what the civil servants come up with!

  4. Vanessa Warwick

    I certainly regard this as something of a bombshell!  Ethical landlords are already offering a decent standard of housing in the private rented sector.  It is the “rogues” and criminal/gang landlords who are the problem.  There is existing legislation to deal with them, but it is not enforced properly, so I see little point in introducing new legislation to control ethical landlords!

    Mr. Cameron needs to give greater powers and resources to local authorities to enforce the existing legislation, rather than bring in new legislation that will be ignored by rogue landlords.

    Property Tribes will be seeking clarification from the Housing Minister on this “bolt of the blue” announcement and we urge all landlords to join our thread and have their say.  Landlords need a voice now, more than ever before, otherwise they are going to be over-burdened with red tape and penalised financially for the actions of the few.

  5. Vanessa Warwick

    P.S.  Additional to this, landlords may find it harder to get mortgages!

    RBS/NatWest comment: “It is the longstanding policy of Royal Bank of Scotland Group not to lend where there is a requirement for a special licence for a buy-to-let property.”

    1. wilko

      I think that they may re-think their buy to let lending once the new legislation becomes clearer.

  6. David Weston

    Haven’t we been campaign for years for licensing of letting agent to raise the standards in the industry. We already have the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 coming into force in October 2015 requiring all letting agents and landlords to be licensed.

  7. Will

    Yeah sure we all believe it is all for a good reason.  If such a scheme is introduced (no doubt to raise tax collection!) will it be a license as such or another property tax levied on each and every property?  If it is a licensing scheme a single license fee should apply NOT a charge for each property (which I am guessing will be the case).  THERE IS NO LONGER ANY HONESTY WITH POLITICIANS. They did not tell the truth in their last manifesto slipping in additional legislation at various opportunities so now they have been given a free hand more smoke and mirror tricks will be performed.

  8. Robert May

    A ham fisted, blunt way of beating HMRC into  understanding all landlords ought to be paying tax and providing a separate report  not reliant on the belligerent resistance of HMRC
    If you are reading this Kevin Hollinrake, you have a professional reputation to protect, there are far  easier and  more effective ways of sorting all this out. Even as a new boy in the house surely you have some say in what is going on. Being blunt there are under 5 years to get housing sorted, it isn’t possible to waste time on a Baldrick amateur cunning plan that can nor be policed.
    Section 19, SA105 (l&p), landlord UTR on AST- sorted!!!! Then you can attend to the  more pressing matter of the mid rented sector between PRS and Social accommodation.

  9. Jireh Homes

    Licensing of landlords already exits in Scotland at a cost of £90 for 3 years plus £10 per property.  Apart from being able to look up who are the registered owners of rental properties (essential for tenements) this provides very little benefit, provides no assurance on quality of property / landlord and many landlords are simply not registered.  However positive impact that Registration Number has to be quoted to placed with a Letting Agent, providing some assurance of a compliant Landlord.


  10. Will

    |Well Mr Cameron,

    Which one of your two faces should we look out for!


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