Every so often in the property world something comes along that gets everyone talking. At the moment everyone seems to havean opinion on landlord licensing and accreditation schemes.

Some fear licensing will create too much red-tape and restrict investment in property. Landlords may steer clear of licensed areas and instead seek out properties where licensing is not in use.

After a recent survey by the National Landlords Association indicated that 75 per cent of private landlords will purchase their next investment property in their local area, NLA chair Carolyn Uphill said  “Landlords can provide a vital lifeline for local councils who struggle with the ever growing demand for housing in their area”.

Continuing “Councils considering introducing licensing schemes should take these findings on board as otherwise they will alienate a significant proportion of landlords and in doing so deter much needed investment”.

In response to licensing the NLA is instead promoting it’s own accreditation system based on what it calls “landlord development”.

In London there is a similar feeling, with the introduction of the London Rental Standard (LRS). Some councils have chosen to set up rental accreditation systems rather than use landlord licensing to improve industry standards and are trying to attract letting agents to join.

A recent article on property news website Letting Agent Today said “The LRS is particularly important because it applies to such a large private rented demographic – one estimate puts 40% of inner London households, with two million individuals, in the sector.”

So from these two examples it appears the message for landlords and letting agents is to not go in for licensing but chose an accreditation scheme to join instead – part of me thinks that sounds a little complicated – especially if every accreditation scheme is slightly different.  It seems the waters are getting murky.

But what about the other side of the story – what do the people want?

In Coventry local people have set up the group, Coventry Action for Neighbours (CAN). They aim to get the council to control the damage they believe is done to communities by the growth of short-term lets.

They feel licensing could play a part in curbing the level of Households of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s) which they believe are at the heart of the problem.

So on both sides of the discussion everyone has an agenda. It seems licensing and accreditation is a good idea if it furthers their own cause.

Looking at these views the one group that seems to have escaped everyone’s attention are the tenants. They are the ones that the licensing schemes are supposed to protect. Licensing should make things clearer and help stop the exploitation of renters from unscrupulous landlords and agents. So where is their voice in this? If you’re a tenant that wants a say in the debate contact us here.

Whether licensing is too much red-tape or a necessary step in the property industry I’m personally unsure. But what I do know is it will be interesting to see how this story develops in the coming months.

On the subject of furthering our own causes – I think it should be part of the licensing that every rental should have a professional property inventory carried out – but then I would wouldn’t I!

Steve.