Westminster aims for discretionary licensing

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Westminster City Council, which claims to have the largest private rented sector in England, is consulting on introduction of additional licensing requirements.

‘We recognise that most of the private rented sector is managed well and is of high quality’, said Councillor Heather Acton, who has council responsibility of ‘public protection and licensing’. ‘However, when properties are not well managed or responsibly run, the impact upon the lives of individuals and families can be terrible’.

The council said it has developed a new private rented sector strategy that will ’be tough with any rogue landlords and agents’ and includes additional licensing.

‘We will not tolerate anyone’s quality of life being impaired by poor quality private rented housing and practices’, said Acton.

The council wants to introduce a discretionary licensing scheme across Westminster for all HMOs falling outside the national scheme – ‘which is where some of the greatest problems occur’. It will also ‘keep the case for other types of discretionary licensing under review’, and review its enforcement policy for the private rented sector.

The council also wants to work with the private rented sector to increase the number of landlords and agents accredited by the London Landlords Accreditation Scheme.