The decision by Newham Council to licence all private landlords could damage London’s private rental sector should other authorities look to adopt similar initiatives, according to London’s oldest lettings agency, Edmund Cude. The scheme, which will cover 35,000 private tenancies in the borough of Newham, aims to reduce the letting of sub-standard rental accommodation and remove rogue landlords from the local lettings market. All landlords are expected to sign up to the scheme.

However, with local authorities subject to budget and staffing cuts there is some doubt as to how the regulation will be implemented. Edmund Cude urges other authorities considering adopting a similar licensing scheme to take into account the financial and economic risks to their own local lettings market. In addition, it is widely believed that blanket licensing only penalises good landlords while so-called ‘rogue landlords’ remain firmly below the radar.

Robert Nichols, Director, Edmund Cude said: ““Newham Borough Council should be applauded for tackling the issue of rogue landlords head on, however the scheme itself is deeply flawed. It’s not yet clear as to whether or not the landlord licensing scheme will lead to an exodus of landlords from the borough – only time will tell – however, by labouring landlords with an extra piece of bureaucracy, Newham Borough Council risks de-incentivising landlords from operating in the area. All this comes at a time when the Private Rental Sector plays an invaluable role in reducing the national housing deficit and we should be doing all we can to encourage, not inhibit landlords. Further to this it is largely duplicative in terms of the existing legislation available to tenants to address substandard living conditions. A tenant education programme would be more cost effective.”