March 29, 2024 9:42 am

Insert Lead Generation
Nikka Sulton

A charity is pushing for the implementation of landlord licensing schemes that allocate adequate funds to conduct annual inspections. Additionally, they propose the establishment of sentencing guidelines” aimed at penalizing landlords found to be in breach of regulations. Safer Renting, a proactive charity known for advocating essential reforms within the private rental sector, emphasizes these demands among 13 other recommendations outlined in a comprehensive report. This report scrutinizes the efficacy of licensing procedures across five London boroughs, shedding light on areas where improvements are crucially needed.

Safer Renting’s call for enhanced landlord accountability resonates with their commitment to ensuring safer and more transparent rental environments. By advocating for licensing schemes with sufficient resources for regular inspections and proposing punitive measures for rule violations, the charity aims to foster greater compliance among landlords and elevate standards within the private rental sector. Their recommendations underscore the importance of proactive measures in safeguarding tenants’ rights and promoting responsible property management practices.

The charity emphasizes that licensing has evolved over two decades into the principal tool employed by London local authorities to regulate the private rental sector. Their report underscores the need for bolstering Selective Licensing through more robust inspection and enforcement strategies. They argue that despite the existence of licensing, landlord non-compliance remains widespread, as evidenced by government data. Therefore, the report recommends enhancing enforcement powers, advocating for measures such as regular property inspections and the continuation of licensing schemes until evidence indicates they are no longer necessary.

Moreover, the charity challenges the prevailing belief that the proposed property portal outlined in the Renters Reform Bill negates the need for licensing. They contend that while the portal may streamline certain aspects of rental regulation, it does not obviate the need for comprehensive licensing schemes. The report suggests that licensing serves a distinct purpose in ensuring landlord compliance with regulatory standards and protecting tenants’ rights. By strengthening enforcement mechanisms and extending licensing initiatives, authorities can maintain effective oversight of the rental market and safeguard tenants from substandard living conditions.

In light of these findings, the charity calls for urgent action to reinforce licensing schemes and address systemic issues within the private rental sector. They stress the importance of continued collaboration between policymakers, local authorities, and advocacy groups to enact meaningful reforms. By implementing the recommendations outlined in the report, stakeholders can work towards creating a rental market characterized by fairness, accountability, and improved living standards for tenants across London.

Instead it claims: “Abolishing selecting licensing risks undermining the entire stated purpose of the Renters Reform Bill: improved security of tenure for renters isn’t really worth having if the homes they have the right to stay in aren’t fit for human habitation.”

Looking in details at Camden, Ealing, Enfield, Waltham Forest, and Westminster, the campaign group then makes a string of recommendations.


  • Collaborate with other local authorities to form procurement clubs for acquiring tailored digital IT solutions to aid in licensing and enforcement efforts.
  • Amend the Housing Act 2004 to establish property licensing, ensuring schemes remain in effect until evidence suggests enforcement standards are no longer necessary.
  • Extend the minimum initial term of licensing schemes to 10 years, allowing for comprehensive mobilization, data gathering, outcome delivery, and cost recovery.
  • Provide start-up or gap funding to assist local authorities in launching new licensing schemes during their initial term.
  • Overhaul the Housing Health & Safety Rating System to enhance clarity, administration, and equal focus on long-term health risks and immediate hazards.
  • Incorporate minimum property standards into core license requirements, streamlining enforcement procedures and eliminating the need for separate notices.
  • Simplify property license definitions to determine the ‘responsible person’ in mixed-ownership buildings and enable interoperable 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 private rented housing and its owners/managers.
  • Develop a National Workforce Plan to facilitate the nationwide expansion of property licensing.
  • Publish guidance on property licensing best practices for local authorities to follow.



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