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The council will roll out a consultation on the scheme this month
The introduction of compulsory licenses for private landlords will prevent the exploitation of tenants and improve poor living conditions, according to Waltham Forest Council.
The authority hopes to target rogue landlords who ignore their responsibilities to increase profit by introducing closer controls.
But Conservatives have accused the authority of wrongfully targeting the private sector when there are widespread problems with council housing.
Explaining the introduction of the compulsory licenses, council leader Chris Robbins said there is evidence that poor quality rented accommodation leads to increased anti-social behaviour.
He added: “With an increasing number of residents living in rented properties in the private sector it is vital that the council does its bit to ensure good housing standards and that any exploitation of tenants is put to a stop.”
But Conservative group leader Cllr Matt Davis said the move might make it more difficult for people to rent in what are difficult times in the housing sector.
“Make no mistake the costs of this licensing scheme will be passed straight on to tenants, thereby making their rents and deposits more expensive than they would otherwise be,” he said.
“This scheme could also actually reduce the amount of housing available as well, as such schemes have in other places.”
He said he was surprised that Labour councillors felt the need to licence private landlords when so many of them are themselves private landlords.
Cabinet member for housing, Cllr Marie Pye, said: “We know that the majority of landlords out there are good and decent. Licensing is aimed at addressing the rogue landlords who ignore their responsibilities in the name of profit.”
Cllr Davis responded: “Of course we all want to see private tenants living in good quality properties with decent landlords but in the end it is the individual tenants choice whether or not to rent a particular property and whether this scheme will in fact really improve things for private tenants is very questionable indeed.
“As a councillor I have always had considerably more constituents needing help with problems with Ascham Homes, and especially with the council's favoured registered social landlords, that is housing associations, than I have ever had needing help with private landlords, so perhaps Cllr Pye should put her own house in order before trying to put herself in charge of everyone else's.”
A consultation will begin this month and run until January.
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