A recent poll by ComRes has found that 35% of renters in the private rented sector consider themselves floating voters whose votes in next year’s election could be influenced by housing policy, particularly private rented sector policy. The Guardian has suggested that this should prompt a move to make the implementation of licensing easier and to create a national register of landlords. Current (and planned) policy is rightly more focused on eliminating the rogue element who conduct unfair revenge evictions and do not comply with safety and repair standards.
Could the government be influenced by these polling statistics to go even further towards widespread licensing and a national register? It seems unlikely: it is currently looking at restricting councils’ ability to introduce licensing. This is probably necessary in light of the current problems with the system and the many councils seemingly poised to take advantage. But whether other parties see a register and more licensing as a potential way to appeal to voters is another matter. Hopefully they realise it would fail to deal with the worst problems which tenants face under rogue landlords.