CLG admits survey jumped the gun
The government has admitted that a survey which purported to reveal how landlords were faring under a new licensing regime had questioned them before the regime was implemented.
The offending section was included in a survey of private landlords published by the Communities and Local Government department last week.
In a section looking at selective licensing, the survey reported that: 'Only one in 10 landlords were letting properties in areas in which they reported selective licensing had been introduced.'
A separate page of the report stated that landlords or agents were interviewed between September 2006 and February 2007. But when contacted by Inside Housing the CLG confirmed that the first selective licensing scheme was not launched until May 2007 in Salford. A spokesperson for the department admitted the scheme 'didn't officially start until that later date'.
'The only interpretation you can put on it is that it [selective licensing] had been announced and people were aware that it had been announced,' he said. 'It was important to get a feel for it which is why that question was put in.'
Ian Fletcher, director of residential property at the British Property Federation, said the revelation raised 'significant concerns about the quality of statistical data' the CLG had used to judge the sector.
'I think the sector as a whole suffers greatly from a paucity of data,' he said.
'Obviously the government has put in place a far more detailed review of licensing that has been conducted by the Building Research Establishment over a three-year period and that will be far more detailed and reliable than perhaps this particular survey.'