Hounslow Council Landlord Licensing Scheme Halted by Legal Threat

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A prospective landlord licensing scheme due to be introduced by Hounslow Council has been scrapped following a threat of legal action by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

The Hounslow Council cabinet had agreed to proceed with plans for an additional licensing scheme for landlords in July. However, the Residential Landlords Association threatened the local authority with a judicial review on the basis that the consultation it ran to establish the scheme was flawed.

The RLA stated that Hounslow Council failed to provide any information on which the plans for the scheme were being made and didn’t adequately explain how it would work.

The RLA has now confirmed that it has been contacted by Hounslow Council’s lawyers to confirm that the decision will not be taken forward to introduce the additional licensing scheme and it will now reconsider the way forward, including carrying out a new consultation.

Policy director for the RLA, David Smith, said: ‘We are glad that they have had the courage to admit this and think again.

‘Rather than seeking to re-consult on its proposals, the council should consider the reality that they can already access a wealth of information on landlords from council tax returns, tenancy deposit schemes and the electoral roll.

‘Instead of tying up good landlords with red tape whilst the criminals continue operating under the radar, the council needs to develop proper enforcement strategies focused on rooting out those who bring the sector into disrepute. Licensing does not achieve this.’

Safeagent also fought against the additional landlord licensing scheme from Hounslow Council.

Chief executive Isabel Thomson said: ‘This is a victory for common sense – we are pleased Hounslow Council took on board the issues we raised about the validity of their proposed scheme.

‘It is important that councils do not just automatically view licensing as the panacea for all ills in the private rented sector. There are other existing options at their disposal which could be used more sensibly and would not involve the cost or the level of administration that licensing does.’

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