According to newly released data from The Residential Landlords Association, a landlord licensing scheme in Nottingham has so far managed to issue full licences to fewer than 3 per cent of the applications received and has been branded 'painfully slow'.
In August 2018, Nottingham City Council introduced a Selective Licensing Scheme across many parts of the city as a key part of its efforts to address the quality and management of private rented housing.
Figures provided to the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee however show that by August 2019, whilst 17,523 applications for a licence had been received, just 472 final licences had been issued. The Council estimates that a total of 24,000 applications are eventually likely to be received.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is branding the painfully slow progress in processing applications a farce and has called on the Council to scrap this pointless scheme.
The RLA points out that the issuing of a licence is not linked to any form of property inspection by the Council meaning tenants cannot be sure that because their landlord is licenced the property meets all the required standards. In addition, because there is no way of checking whether or not a licence application has been made, tenants cannot tell if their landlord has applied and is simply waiting for the Council to process the application or is flouting the law altogether.
As part of the General Election campaign the RLA is calling for all forms of landlord licensing schemes to be scrapped. Instead, it is calling for councils to use the wide array of data they can already access such as from council tax returns, benefit and electoral roll data and information from the Land Registry to identify landlords. It is further calling on councils such as Nottingham to spend more time and resources finding and rooting out criminal landlords rather than wasting resources tying good landlords up in bureaucratic knots.
David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, said: “Nottingham council cannot have it both ways. Either it believes landlord licences are important, in which case they should process applications promptly, or they do not, in which case they should scrap what amounts to a money making scheme.
The reality is that the Council is targeting responsible landlords whilst doing nothing to find and root out bad landlords who will have no intention of applying for a licence. This is purely a money making bureaucratic exercise which will not benefit tenants in any way. ”