New licensing regime will ‘hound’ tenants in their homes

A local authority has been attacked over its plans for a selective licensing scheme which will force landlords or their agents to inspect their properties every month.

Harrow Council is introducing the new scheme in its Edgware ward on November 1 at a cost of up to £550, in an attempt to combat anti-social behaviour.

The council say it is a pilot scheme which could be copied in two other areas, Wealdstone and South Harrow.

As well as monthly inspections, landlords will have to clear litter from outside the properties. In addition, landlords and tenants will have to allow council staff to make checks at just 24 hours’ notice.

The National Landlords Association is warning that the licence conditions will lead to tenants feeling harassed in their homes, and says the conditions are unacceptable for landlords.

Gavin Dick, the NLAS’s local authority policy officer, said: “The council has the powers it needs to deal with anti-social behaviour in the borough but instead of allocating funding for enforcement they’ve passed the buck by putting the responsibility on to landlords.

“While we agree that private rented properties must be kept up to standard, the council’s conditions will essentially result in the harassment of tenants in their own homes.

“Monthly checks are simply unnecessary and could be considered as breaking a tenant’s ‘right to quiet enjoyment’.

“The council has displayed an incredible lack of understanding of how private housing works. It’s not for the landlord to decide who can have access to their tenant’s home and when.

“Neither is it their responsibility to remove household waste, domestic or otherwise.”

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9 Comments

  1. marcH

    Whilst this looks like a classic case of overkill by Harrow Council I think it is necessary here as the area is notorious for beds in sheds – a practice which must be stamped out if we wish to protect the reputations of the rest of us who try to do the right thing.

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  2. Will

    This IS overkill and harassment of tenants. It will place an landlords under unacceptable and crazy levels of administration. It is ideas like this that prove councils do not live in the real world and makes it questionable if they are fit people to run local government.  Another case of left wing lunatics. Council have powers to enforce against beds in shed if only they pulled their fingers out and got on with it.

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  3. smile please

    At a time when they want to reduce cost for tenants this is crazy.

    If i did lettings am i going to send a member of my staff to go out and inspect EVERY property monthly for free? No i will add it into the tenant fees! – you will need at least one full time member of staff depending on the size of the portfolio, standing £25.00 per month charge to tenant sound fair?

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    1. Will

      As Harrow feel it needs £550 to set up and  administer a licensing scheme it seems to me a charge of £250 per visit might be be an equivalent hourly rate. Perhaps Landlords should grasp the nettle and invent similar charges to raise their income as councils seem to be doing or to use present terminology introduce “innovative cash generation schemes”

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  4. Will

    Perhaps in Harrow  Councillors who sit on the planning committee should be held responsible in perpetuity for litter picking around every takeaway food shop in the borough as they would be more responsible for causing litter than any single landlord. Another ROGUE council to add to the growing list.

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  5. ringi

    Will they inspect ALL council housing every month?

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  6. smile please

    I think the councils / government, sometimes forget landlords and agents are a business. They are increasingly looking at the PRS as a charity.

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  7. MF

    It’s got to be either increased costs… and therefore rents; or else landlords selling up….. and therefore less private rental housing available.

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  8. Woodentop

    What this story really proves is that it is the tenants at fault, but never mind we will hound the landlord instead. There is case law which does suggest that everyone month visit would be classed as harassment, particularly if there is clear evidence of no need to visit.

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