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License to Let: How property licensing could protect private renters

We’re researching how councils have licensed landlords in London to find out how licensing can help renters.

Almost a third of Londoners live in privately rented housing – 27 per cent, compared to 19 per cent across all of England.

Growing demand has enabled rogue landlords and poor quality accommodation. But in most parts of London, there’s still no need for landlords to register their property or apply for the right to rent it out.

The government have announced plans for a national ‘Property Portal’ – a register of information about landlords.

And some local authorities have already gone further than this, by requiring licenses for properties with clear minimum standards. But at the moment, councils don’t have the power to extend these schemes.

In this project, we’ll explore how both these ideas – a national landlord register and local property licensing – could help tenants.

To find out, we’ll be asking:

  1. What do local authorities in London, with or without their own property licensing schemes, want from a national landlord register?
  2. What data do local authorities need from a national landlord register to enforce standards in the private rented sector?
  3. How could a national landlord register interact with local authorities’ property licensing schemes, and what features would enable them to complement one another?
  4. What are the merits of devolving property licensing from national government to London’s city government? Should power in this area be devolved from national government to London?
  5. What can we learn from licensing and register schemes in other parts of the UK?

To answer these questions, we’ll speak to London boroughs and experts from across the UK, and conduct a review of the evidence on licensing.

If you’d like to get in touch about this project, please contact Jon Tabbush.

Principal Sponsor

This project has been generously supported by