England’s first compulsory borough-wide licensing scheme is under threat, it is claimed.
Newham, in east London, introduced its scheme in 2013.
It has since prosecuted 1,215 private landlords, banning 28 of them, and brought legal action against 25 letting agents.
In addition, a “significant” number of landlords are of interest to HMRC because of potential discrepancies between declared rental income and Newham’s records.
The scheme is now up for renewal – but Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales and shadow housing minister John Healey say that the scheme could instead be cancelled.
The reason is that licensing schemes must now be approved by the Secretary of State.
Writing in the Guardian, the pair say: “The signs are not good. The Government has already turned down an application from Redbridge council for a similar licensing scheme and former housing minister Gavin Barwell, now the prime minister’s chief of staff, has declared these common-sense schemes ‘misjudged and nonsensical’.”
The pair say that the Government is sitting on its hands.