A raft of different councils across the UK are looking at the potential of bringing in licences for landlord insurance customers that would see them need to fill a number of requirements before being allowed to operate in the popular private rented sector.
The demand for buy-to-let homes in recent times has meant far more people are coming into the market, but there are fears that more amateur landlords could mean that standards slip, and local authorities are keen to avoid this eventuality.
The Local Government Information Unit surveyed 178 councils across the country and found that some eight in ten believe that they will take a more active role in the regulation of landlords in the years ahead.
Main drivers surrounding this appetite from councils come in the shape of health and safety concerns, with the likes of gas and fire worries topping the list of issues that local authorities feel they need to address.
Phil Buckle, director general of the Electrical Safety Council, told the Guardian: "Despite the fact that electrical accidents are the number one cause of domestic fires in Great Britain, most landlords are not legally required to have their electrics checked or provide their tenants with safety certificates – a requirement for gas certificates has been compulsory since 1998. With increasing numbers of people renting privately, it is imperative that proper regulations are in place to ensure their safety."
The Local Government Information Unit survey found that most councils would initially be open to a voluntary accreditation scheme with landlords. These have benefits for both owners and tenants as they show landlords that conform to the highest standards.
However, a third also admitted that they were considering a more rigorous approach to the market that would see owners required to sign up to council schemes before they can operate in the private rented sector within that area.
It is thought that this would help to stop unscrupulous landlord practices, as well as helping to improve health and safety standards in general across the sector.