The Government has confirmed that it has no plans to introduce a national register of private landlords.
It has not even undertaken an assessment of the proposal, made in a report back in January when the Chartered Institutes of Housing and of Environmental Health jointly called for a register.
The two organisations said that such a register would make it easier for local councils to identify landlords in their areas and would reduce the need for new licensing schemes.
However, in response to a parliamentary question, Viscount Younger of Leckie on behalf of the Government said that the Government has no current plans for a register, which could place an “additional regulatory burden” on them. He said that local authorities currently have a wide range of powers available to them, including access to a database of rogue agents and landlords.
ARLA Propertymark called for local authorities to adopt a collaborative approach with landlords and agents, and in strong language said that licensing schemes are not the answer,
ARLA chief executive David Cox said: “Licensing does not work. Licensing has never worked and never will work.
“Newham have done 1,200 prosecutions, or 240 a year, out of 47,000 properties. That is 0.5% of properties in their area that they have done anything about and have done prosecutions. I would note that that is with 140 officers.
“They have 40 police officers; 100 enforcement officers and they have done 240 prosecutions a year. That is less than two prosecutions an officer.
“If that is what is classed as success – and it is classed across the industry as the most successful licensing scheme in the country – really what does that say? It is pitiful.
“What we need is education. Landlords need to be trained in what they need to do. Agents need to be trained in what they need to do.
“Filling in a piece of paper and giving it to the council and paying £500 is not going to teach them the 150 laws that they need to understand.”