After an 18-month delay, Enfield Council’s selective licensing scheme – designed to boost the quality of private sector rented housing – goes live today.
The scheme will cover 14 out of the borough’s 21 wards and create 70 jobs. Each five-year licence will cost £600.
Selective licensing schemes covering more than 20% of the local area, or more than 20% of the private rented sector in the area, will need personal sign-off from the housing secretary.
Leader of the north London borough Nesil Caliskan said the scheme had lots of support from both residents and local landlords and believed the delayed sign-off by the housing secretary Robert Jenrick was due to “political” reasons, as well as the pandemic.
Caliskan said: “Overwhelmingly in Enfield, the worst accommodation in the borough is in the areas of high deprivation and density so we believe that introducing a landlord’s licence will help deal with introducing more decent accommodation and with deprivation and poverty.
“We've got one in three children living in poverty and without a doubt, that's linked to the quality of housing.”
In 2019, CIEH and the Chartered Institute of Housing published a report – authored by CIEH’s Tamara Sandoul – that found selective licensing schemes can work well and are an effective means of improving housing standards.
Caliskan said the Enfield scheme would mean the council could do “better enforcement” and have more enforcement officers to deal with irresponsible landlords in the area and improve the standard of accommodation across the whole borough.
Seven years ago, Enfield Council tried to introduce a selective licensing scheme, which was stopped by judicial review. Caliskan believes this time the council secured the scheme based on solid evidence that it would help residents in the borough and that the discussion around such schemes had moved on.
She added: “I think the picture's shifted over the last couple of years because responsible landlords are like, ‘actually we'd quite like this licence so we can demonstrate that it's a decent home, and we've gone through the checks. It gives our tenants confidence. It gives agents that we work with confidence’.”
Caliskan said the local authority would be able to focus on those who aren't up to scratch, adding: “The process of applying itself is long and you have to provide a huge amount of evidence – data and all sorts of evidence that demonstrates that the scheme would make a tangible difference to the quality of housing in the borough, and that you have a borough that is disproportionately affected by the private rental sector.”