Landlords across the country are being warned about failing
to comply with both selective and statutory licensing schemes.
There is growing concern in Reading that thousands of
landlords could soon face enforcement action if they do not sign up to a new
statutory licence, with the deadline less than two weeks away.
Changes to mandatory House in
Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing came into force in England on 1st
October 2018, requiring rental properties with five or more occupants in two or
more households to be licensed.
Under the new rules, mandatory HMO licensing has been
extended to almost all HMOs that are occupied by five or more people, where
there is sharing of some facilities. It is expected to affect more than 160,000
The licensing scheme was previously restricted to properties
that were three or more storeys high.
The change means that councils can now take further action
to clamp down on the small minority of landlords that let substandard or
However, Reading Borough Council is concerned that many
landlords in the area are ignoring the new rules, with the deadline to apply
for a licence fast approaching.
The Council believes that just 135 of an estimated 3,000
landlords in Reading have signed up to the new licences.
Councillor John Ennis says: “Anecdotal evidence suggests that some landlords are reducing
the number of tenants in their property to avoid licensing.”
Borough Council rejected the Government’s decision to not allow a grace period,
giving landlords until 31st January 2019 to submit their
applications. Any landlord that fails to apply by the end of the month will be
subject to enforcement action.
At the same
time, Barnet Council is planning to introduce a stricter licensing scheme
designed to crack down on rogue landlords across the north London borough.
wants to replicate selective licensing schemes that are in force in other
areas, with prosecution or a civil penalty of up to £30,000 for those that fail
to comply with the scheme’s conditions.
Just over a
quarter (26%) of households in the borough were private tenants in 2016, which
is up from 17% in 2001. This is why Barnet is far more focused on stamping out
substandard housing and improving conditions in the borough.
Speaking at a meeting of
the Housing Committee last week, Chairman Councillor Gabriel Rozenberg, said: “In Barnet today,
the Conservatives are standing up for private renters. This new agenda
comprises stricter licensing controls and proposals for tougher enforcement. We
are putting tenants at the heart of our borough.”
understood that the Council will hire additional members of staff to
investigate the viability of selective licensing in the borough, as well as
conduct extra housing enforcement and HMO licensing activities.
remember to check whether the areas that your properties are in are subject to