A License to Rent

A License to rent, not to kill?

“Criminals are exploiting vulnerable tenants who just want a safe place to call home…

This cannot continue unchecked, as these activities undermine the work of good landlords and harm the sector’s reputation.”

(The Department for Communities and Local Government, 2014)

“The ultimate objective of any property licensing scheme should be to tackle poor standards of management in order to improve poor housing conditions for tenants.  It is therefore essential that licensing be accompanied by robust enforcement”.

(A briefing from Future of London, Private Rented Sector Licensing: Policy and Practice, 2015)

Today’s Private Rented Sector has been described in the 2015 report by Future of London as a ‘pivotal’ part of our National Housing Strategy, not least because of its “rapid rise and inconsistent standards.”


Read alone, one might be forgiven for thinking the opening phrase whitewashes the state of the rental sector; Delve beyond the introductory sentence however, and the opposite is apparent.

The briefing on Private Rented Sector Licensing identifies ‘inconsistent’ management standards ‘from the careless’ to the ‘criminal’ evinced further by the fact that 30% of the rented properties surveyed in London alone for the 2011 census, were found to be below the Decent Homes Standard.

The report touches on the process of licensing, and the policy’s which have evolved around the key forms of licensing in the PRS: mandatory, additional and selective. It quotes heavily from the Department for Communities and Local Government, including their assertion that:

“Licensing is an important tool to ensure renters get the best deal from their private landlord.”

We also know that our political candidates in the Greater Manchester region agree nearly unanimously that mandatory licensing should be undertaken in local authorities, thanks to the comprehensive survey carried out by Manchester Friends of the Earth.

The results of candidates surveyed can be seen below.

 Results FoE GE15 Survey

The next question then is, with a newly elected parliament, and new MP’s across Manchester, will we see the changes tenants are calling for?

If you live in the Withington constituency, you can come and have your say about the state of housing at the public meeting to follow our Housing Hustings, with the MP Jeff Smith, discussing the pre-election housing promises and a community-response to these moving forward.

Dates for this event will be posted on our local and National sites on our events listings so please stay tuned.

In the meantime you can read Alex Hilton's response to the results of the General Election, and how Generation Rent will continue to campaign and keep up the pressure upon our newly elected representatives.

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