Regulating landlords without hurting renters?

Last month at the reading and discussion group we hold with Southwark Tenants, we picked a pretty dry topic: regulating landlords. The reason was that, while many renters groups would like to see landlords better regulated so that tenants don’t have to put up with stuff like terrible housing conditions, repairs that are never done and illegal evictions, we were starting to hear concerns that the landlord licensing schemes that some local councils (including Southwark) are introducing might be creating problems for renters.

Among the group was someone who had worked in housing for a local council, so could give us some inside perspectives. One conclusion from the discussion was that some of the problems for tenants appeared to be able to be mitigated if the scheme was designed in particular ways or if it operated within a different legal situation (for example, if tenants were protected by rent controls and more secure tenancies), although it was unclear that this would be possible for all the concerns we identified.

Afterwards, a member of Southwark Tenants wrote this blog post with his take on our conversation, which we’re sharing here as part of a discussion of this issue, which we feel has so far lacked a progressive critique.

We’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on this issue (feel free to leave comments below, or email us at

You can find out more about our reading group here.

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