Council Applies for PRS Licensing Scheme Extension

Newham council has asked the Housing Minister Alok Sharma to renew its PRS licensing scheme until 2022.

The council has recently cracked down on slum landlords, targeting property owners sub-letting properties, or over-filling properties and using garages and sheds to house tenants.

Private Rental Sector (PRS) schemes cover all rental properties in an area, rather than just Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) properties that are covered by national legislation.

All councils need government approval to operate PRS licensing schemes, so Newham will need the ok from the housing minister to continue the scheme.

Since operating the PRS licensing scheme, Newham council have banned 28 landlords from operating in the area and brought a total of 1,135 prosections against ‘rogue’ landlords.

Newham mayor, Sir Robin Wales, said: ‘It is appalling the way people are being made to live by landlords who are just out to rip people off. We need to stop people being exploited by criminal elements.’

Newham council’s PRS scheme has been backed in a letter to the borough by London Fire Brigade commander Rhys Powell. Mr Powell wrote in his letter: ‘While we cannot put a number on it, there is no doubt in my mind that the PRS has saved lives.

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) are due to consider the application.

A spokesman for the DCLG said: ‘We’re determined to stamp out rogue landlords who exploit often vulnerable tenants and make their lives a misery.

‘That’s why our Housing and Planning Act introduced a range of measures to tackle those landlords that flout the rules, including civic penalties of up to £30,000 and new powers to ban the most serious offenders.

‘Local authorities can also introduce selective licensing of private landlords to target serious local problems. The London Borough of Newham has submitted their proposal for a licensing scheme for all private landlords in the borough and we’ll make a decision in due course.’

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