In the July 2008 Issue of Property Investor News
The implementation of the 2004 Housing Act introduced mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) for the first time, and also gave local authorities the right to introduce additional/selective licensing for other properties that were poorly managed and/or subject to antisocial behaviour.
The 2004 Housing Act also (and even more significantly) changed the definition of a "shared house" to a house in multiple occupation. The regulation of deposits was also included in the Act at a very late stage.
So, what effect has the 2004 Housing Act had on private landlords? I will take the easiest first, namely deposit regulation. This has affected all landlords that take deposits, and whether you use the custodial or insured schemes, it either costs money to register the deposits or significant time to deal with the administration in respect of the custodial scheme.
Although I personally have no time for any landlord who unlawfully withholds a deposit, I do not believe that regulating every deposit for the very small number of landlords who act unlawfully is the appropriate way to deal with the situation. It is already apparent from the very low number of disputes that such regulation was not justified, yet Government claims the scheme to be a success by the number of landlords now registering deposits. What Government has not understood is that the vast majority of landlords obey the law and would not wish to be subject to the draconian penalties imposed for not registering their deposits.
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