HL Deb 15 July 2004 vol 663 cc63-4WS
The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker):

My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

My right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister will publish for public consultation on 16 July a paper on licensing in the private rented sector concerning the implementation of selective licensing.

This paper seeks to explain the Government's proposals for licensing in the private rented sector which will be set in place by the Housing Bill, currently before Parliament. In particular, the paper explains the Government's proposals for selective licensing and sets out proposals for the secondary instruments required to implement these measures.

The powers in the Bill and proposed secondary legislation will give local authorities scope to license properties in those areas where the private rented sector is associated with problems of low demand and/ or anti-social behaviour. Licensing will enable local authorities to:

Ensure that landlords are fit and proper persons or employ agents who are.

Ensure that the standards of tenancy relations management and property management employed by a landlord or agent are adequate.

Impose conditions on licenses to achieve improvements in management where necessary.

Identify landlords and support them in participating in work to regenerate rundown areas or to tackle problems of anti-social behaviour.

Step in and manage properties where landlords refuse to meet the required criteria.

The paper invites interested parties to comment on how these powers should be implemented in relation to selective licensing through the necessary secondary legislation.

This consultation is being taken forward alongside the progress of the Bill through Parliament, not only to enable authorities to make an early start to tackling problems of low demand and anti-social behaviour once the Bill receives Royal Assent, but also to better inform the consideration of the Bill in Parliament.

Copies of the paper are being sent to a wide range of interested parties including local authorities, landlord and tenant organisations and others with an interest in this issue. The closing date for responses is 8 October 2004.

Copies of the paper will also be made available in the Libraries of the House and will be available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at www.odpm.gov.uk