You may remember that Newham Council in London became the first local authority to introduce mandatory licensing for all private landlords from 1 January of this year. We’ve long been saying that anyone buying a buy-to-let property needs to check their local authority’s stance before investing; there are huge variations across the country. What we think is common ground is that, eventually, all BTL landlords will have to be licensed.
The Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, indicates why. Appearing before a Commons select committee, he said that an earlier, voluntary system had a take-up rate of just five per cent. ‘All the evidence – and we have tried it extensively – is voluntary accreditation simply doesn’t work.’ Since the new, mandatory system was set up, there has been a take-up rate of about 75 per cent; the council has now begun taking enforcement action against non-compliant landlords. Note: this is the way the market is heading.