Landlord News,Law News

Islington Council launches two new landlord licensing schemes

Em Morley - February 23, 2021

By introducing two new landlord licensing schemes, Islington Council aims to make private renting fairer and protect renters’ rights.

The council wants to help secure a fairer deal for private renters in the borough by improving conditions.

First announced in February 2020, one scheme is borough-wide, licensing houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), while the second scheme is a selective licensing scheme for Finsbury Park ward. The two schemes are now active, and landlords who have not already done so are reminded to apply for a property licence.

The borough-wide licensing scheme is for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), requiring landlords who rent out a property occupied by three or more tenants who are not members of the same family (as well as certain converted blocks of flats) to get a licence. The council has found that HMOs have some of Islington’s poorest housing standards, with many HMO conversions having inadequate fire safety measures. A pilot HMO licensing scheme in Caledonian and Holloway Roads has been in place since 2015 and has led to an improvement in the management of properties.

The second scheme is a selective licensing scheme for Finsbury Park ward, building on the borough-wide HMO licensing scheme. Finsbury Park ward has the poorest housing conditions in private rented property in the borough. Many people in the area are also facing higher levels of deprivation, meaning that they are at greater risk of being taken advantage of by rogue landlords. For these reasons, the Finsbury Park scheme also requires landlords to obtain a license when they rent out a flat or house occupied by either a single household or two people sharing.

The two licensing schemes allow the council to set minimum standards for property management, including the provision of kitchen and bathroom facilities, room sizes, health and safety (e.g. fire, gas, and electrical safety checks).

The schemes look to punish rogue landlords renting out properties in poor conditions and encourage responsible landlords to keep up with property maintenance. Accredited landlords are also offered a discounted application fee.

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development, said: “The council is committed to building a fairer Islington for all, and that means we will do everything we can to prevent rogue landlords taking advantage of people’s desperate need for a home.

“These new licensing schemes will help protect private renters and also ensure that conscientious landlords are rewarded. There are a great many responsible landlords in the borough and schemes like this help to level the playing field.

“Licensing schemes are also powerful tools that allow the council to use data to identify properties with poor conditions and take appropriate action. We’ve taken significant enforcement action in recent years against landlords and lettings agents who don’t treat private renters fairly and we will continue to stand up for our residents.”

More information about licensing schemes, including information for landlords about how to apply, is available on Islington Council’s website.