Thursday, 8 September 2011

Ministers have been asked to reconsider regulating the private rented sector.

On Monday I asked Minister, Andrew Stunell if he would give local authorities the powers to impose the decenty homes standard as part of licensing a private rented property

“The main problem with selective licensing, of course, is that it does not deal with stock condition, and we see many properties in selective licensing areas that are squalid. Can the Minister assure local communities that the Government will allow councils to include the most recent decent homes standard as a licence condition?”

Stunell replied: “Licensing conditions are matters for local authorities when they draw up their proposals” which was not teh question. The 2004 Housing Act which allows local councils to licence private landlords does not allow Council's to apply a put in the licence as a condition any stock conditions such as double glazing, heating.

I had asked earlier if the Government has carried out any assessment of the effectiveness of selective licensing scheme's.
Stunell said theGovernment hadn't and said that local authorities would be encouraged instead to carry out their own reviews.

Labour MP Chris Williamson accused the housing minister in Parliament of failing in his responsibilities and allowing slum landlords to flourish.

But CLG minister Andrew Stunell made it clear that instead of regulating landlords, local councils could choose to introduce their own selective licensing schemes.

Williamson, who represents Derby North, said: “With more than one million people living in sub-standard privately rented accommodation, and with massive front-loaded cuts to council budgets making it harder to tackle slum landlords, the Housing and Local Government Minister is clearly failing in his responsibilities.

“However, as Henry Ford once said: ‘Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.’

“Will the Minister therefore adopt a more intelligent approach and abandon his laissez-faire attitude to regulation, which is creating a charter for slum landlords, by implementing the light-touch licensing system recommended by the Rugg Review, adopted by Labour and welcomed by the National Landlords Association and the Association of Residential Lettings Agents?”

The Rugg Review recommended compulsory licensing of all letting agents plus a mandatory register of all private landlords.