On Monday 16 August, iHowz hosted a meeting for landlords who rent properties in the London Borough of Ealing to explain selective and additional licencing and seek landlords’ views to the council’s proposed new licencing schemes. The meeting was arranged following our attendance at a boisterous consultation meeting where landlords raised their concerns about the fact that they had only just become aware of the consultation (one week before it was due to close) and questioned the need to renew the existing licencing, which the council claim has been successful. Despite our request, an extension of the consultation deadline was denied, despite evidence of the poor communication of the scheme to landlords.
Councillor Allison Forde, head of property regulation, planning enforcement and environment, and chair of the consultation meeting was invited to attend our meeting, together with HQN, the consultants who created the consultation documents. Unfortunately, neither of them attended and no responses were received to written questions sent to them following the previous meeting.
Peter Littlewood, of iHowz, outlined the requirements for the licencing schemes and explained why iHowz believe the consultation is flawed. The meeting was joined by councillor Nigel Sumner who like many of the landlords in confirmed that he had only been made aware of the consultation in the last week.
The key points raised were:
– The council have only made general statements and have provided very little evidence to support their proposals
– The council’s claims that the current scheme has been successful are not supported by evidence
– If the current scheme is so successful, why were so few properties inspected?
– The council have contact details for many landlords who own property in the borough but do not appear to have used them, preferring to use local media, which is more likely to be accessed by tenants than by landlords, especially those living outside the borough
– The proposed costs seem high, with no budget and no discounts to recognise those who have already been licenced and inspected
– The consultation talks of implementation dates, rather than proposed dates, implying that they regard their proposals as a done deal
iHowz made a submission before the midnight deadline on 16 August and urge landlords with rental property in Ealing to lobby the local councillors and MPs.
The final proposals will be submitted to the council’s cabinet in autumn 2021.