Redbridge councillors agree to push ahead with landlord licensing scheme proposals

A row of 'Sold', 'For Sale' and 'To Let' signs. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images

A row of 'Sold', 'For Sale' and 'To Let' signs. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Councillors agreed to push ahead with proposals to implement a selective registration scheme, for landlords, in 14 wards deemed to have the highest number of private renters.

Discussions about the scheme dominated the neighbourhood and services committee meeting held yesterday.

Cllr Paul Canal, said the meeting, at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, was “deja vu” all over again and called the proposals a “tax” aimed at raising money for the council.

“When it was brought a year ago, we said that we would support the introduction of the scheme covering less than a fifth of the borough without having to refer it to the government,” he said.

“They were determined to do a 100 per cent scheme. Our view was that it would be a tax.

“We wrote a formal objective about the scheme. A year on they are now going for a scheme that covers 78pc of the borough.”

Cllr Gwyneth Deakins (Lib Dems, Roding) said discussions went on for quite some time and that the Conservatives remained “unhappy” with the proposals.

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“I support them [the proposals] because I have always supported landlord registration in the borough,” she said. “It is not a whole borough scheme as before.”

The proposals will now go before the full cabinet meeting on Thursday, July 21, before going out for formal consultation.

Cllr Deakins continued: “It certainly gets my support because I think landlords get a lot of money from the council and government through housing benefit.

“It is about time more had to toe the line in terms of standards and priorities.”

Richard Blanco of the National Landlords Association also called the a “cynical” attempt to raise fees to fund the council’s private sector housing department.

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Farah Hussain said real improvements to housing standards could be made by licensing properties.

Cllr Canal called the evidence presented at the meeting “flawed”.

All landlords and managing agents who let large houses already need to apply for a Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) licence from the council.

The licence is for buildings three or more stories high which have five or more people in one household and who share amenities and forms part of the drive to improve standards in private rented accommodation.

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