March 28, 2024 9:41 am

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

A charity is urging for the establishment of landlord licensing schemes that incorporate fees sufficient to support annual inspections. Additionally, they are advocating for the implementation of “sentencing guidelines” aimed at penalizing landlords found to be in violation of regulations. Safer Renting, which positions itself as a leading advocate for reforms within the private rental sector, is spearheading this initiative. Alongside these demands, the charity has put forth 13 other recommendations designed to enhance standards and accountability across the rental market.

The call for such measures comes amid growing concerns regarding the condition of rental properties and the conduct of landlords. By proposing licensing schemes with sustainable funding models, Safer Renting aims to ensure that regular inspections become a standard practice, thereby fostering safer and more habitable living conditions for tenants. Furthermore, the introduction of sentencing guidelines seeks to deter landlords from flouting regulations by establishing clear consequences for non-compliance.

In their comprehensive report analyzing licensing practices in five London boroughs, Safer Renting highlights the need for robust regulatory frameworks that prioritize tenant welfare. By advocating for reforms that promote transparency, accountability, and adherence to standards, the charity aims to address systemic issues within the private rental sector and safeguard the rights of tenants across the capital and beyond.

The charity asserts that over the past two decades, licensing has emerged as the primary method for London local authorities to oversee the private rental sector. According to a report released by the charity, titled “Selective Licensing: Strengthening Inspection and Enforcement,” there is a pressing need to bolster selective licensing initiatives with more rigorous programs for inspection and enforcement. The report underscores findings from government data, indicating widespread non-compliance among landlords even in areas where licensing schemes are in effect.

Highlighting the prevalence of landlord non-compliance, the report advocates for strengthening enforcement mechanisms by introducing measures such as mandatory annual property inspections. Additionally, it recommends the continuation of licensing schemes until concrete evidence suggests they are no longer necessary. By emphasizing the importance of enhanced oversight and enforcement, the charity aims to address systemic issues within the private rental sector and improve living standards for tenants across London.

The article challenges the notion that the property portal proposal outlined in the Renters Reform Bill renders licensing unnecessary. It contends that eliminating selective licensing jeopardizes the fundamental objective of the Renters Reform Bill, which is to enhance security of tenure for tenants. According to the article, improved tenant security holds little value if the properties they inhabit fail to meet basic standards of habitability.

Focusing on the boroughs of Camden, Ealing, Enfield, Waltham Forest, and Westminster, the campaign group presents a series of detailed recommendations. These recommendations aim to address deficiencies in the current licensing framework and advocate for measures to improve living conditions for tenants across these London boroughs.

  • Form partnerships with neighboring local authorities to collectively procure digital IT solutions tailored for licensing and enforcement purposes.
  • Revise the Housing Act 2004 to establish property licensing frameworks, ensuring schemes remain in place until evidence suggests enforcement standards are no longer necessary.
  • Extend the minimum initial term of licensing schemes to 10 years, allowing for effective mobilization, data gathering, and cost recovery.
  • Provide start-up or gap funding to assist local authorities in implementing new licensing schemes during their initial phases.
  • Undertake comprehensive reform of the Housing Health & Safety Rating System to enhance clarity and prioritize long-term health risks alongside immediate hazards.
  • Incorporate minimum property standards into core license requirements, eliminating the need for separate enforcement procedures.
  • Streamline property licensing definitions to facilitate determination of responsible parties in mixed-ownership buildings and enable interoperability of license types for minor occupancy changes.
  • Exclude high-risk properties, such as short-term lets and temporary accommodations, from licensing exemptions.
  • Establish a mandatory national database for all privately rented housing and its owners/managers.
  • Develop a National Workforce Plan to support the nationwide expansion of property licensing initiatives.
  • Publish guidance on property licensing best practices for local authorities to ensure consistency and effectiveness in enforcement efforts.


Revise First Tier Property Tribunal procedures to safeguard councils against landlords’ frivolous and vexatious appeals regarding Financial penalties.

Establish “sentencing guidelines for the prosecution of licensing offices” by the Ministry of Justice to enhance enforcement measures.





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