March 09, 2022 – Geospatial technology firm Kamma has today reported on the launch of 11 new discretionary licensing schemes in April, with eight starting on the first day of the month. This is the highest number of schemes introduced in a single calendar month since licensing schemes were first introduced in 2006.
This means that, by the start of April, there will be 113 discretionary schemes in place across the UK’s 408 local authorities. With different rules operating in each of them it’s vital that agents stay ahead of the game in order to avoid large fines. The best agents make solving this complexity a source of competitive advantage, helping them stand out in a competitive market and win more instructions.
The 11 new Selective and Additional licensing schemes starting in April will be spread out over seven different local authorities including Ealing, Luton, Liverpool, Lewisham, Charnwood and Durham and will affect both letting agents and landlords operating in those regions. Out of the new schemes, two will be in Bristol. Here the council’s extension of their Selective and Additional licensing schemes is set to come into force on the 6th of April in a bid to raise Private Rented Sector (PRS) standards. During the five year period of the previous schemes, over 3,600 licences were issued and over 3,400 inspections were carried out – with 88% of properties subsequently improved, according to the council. Success metrics like these, which demonstrate the success of previous schemes, encourage local authorities to do more. The new schemes will cover even larger parts of Bristol, with other councils looking at the opportunity to raise standards in the Private Rented Sector (PRS).
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This makes April a critical period for landlords and agents. The last time more than seven schemes were introduced was in October 2018 when eight new schemes came into force in the same month. Since then, there has not been a month with more than six new schemes, in fact there are only four instances where more than five new schemes have started in the same month.
Kamma’s CEO, Orla Shields continues “Kamma is the only company that has developed technology that can automatically monitor the UK’s entire licensing landscape, and individual schemes, and have done so since 2017. Our data shows that so far nine new schemes have already started in 2022 and including all the schemes set out to start in April, we are looking at 20 new schemes starting in less than four months. There are not only more schemes to look out for, enforcement through fines and Rent Repayment Orders (RROs) are also increasing, so it’s important agents act to protect themselves, their landlord customers, and their tenants.”
Letting agents and landlords stand to face fines of up to £30,000 for non-compliance, if failing to comply with safety and licensing regulations, and additional fines of up to £5,000 per property for non-compliance with MEES regulations.
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