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MPs back landlord licensing schemes

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19/07/2013
MPs have urged councils to beef up private rental sector licensing and introduce accreditation schemes for landlords.
MPs back landlord licensing schemes

The Communities and Local Government select committee also called on the Council of Mortgage Lenders to promote longer tenancy agreements.

In its report on the private rental sector, published today, it stated: “Having tailored local schemes may bring its own costs, especially for landlords operating across several areas, but on balance we would prefer to see local authorities develop their own approaches to licensing or accreditation in accordance with local needs.

“The government’s focus should be on giving local authorities greater flexibility and encouraging the use of existing powers.”

It recommended landlords offer longer tenancies to those needing stability such as families and urged lenders to follow the lead of Nationwide in allowing landlords to offer longer term contracts. Currently, the duration of most contracts is no longer than twelve months.

Other suggestions included forcing letting agents to list their fees upfront, providing more support to tenants with grievances against their landlord, speeding up the process of evictions and addressing concerns about ‘studentification’ in university towns.

Landlords have raised concerns about obtaining mortgages in areas of selective licensing and at least one lender – RBS and its subsidiary NatWest – has a longstanding policy not to lend where buy-to-let property requires a special license.

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