Posts with tag: landlord licensing schemes

Islington Council launches two new landlord licensing schemes

Published On: February 23, 2021 at 9:32 am


Categories: Landlord News,Law News

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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.

Landlords to Take North Somerset Council to Judicial Review

Landlords in Weston-super-Mare have joined together to take North Somerset Council to judicial review over its proposed selective licensing scheme.

Just under two weeks ago, we reported that landlords in Somerset have joined together to create the Somerset Property Network in a bid to campaign against the new licensing scheme.

Last week, after just a month of campaigning, the Somerset Property Network held its first meeting for local landlords who will be affected by the Weston-super-Mare selective licensing scheme. The group concluded that the next step is to take North Somerset Council to judicial review.

Landlords to Take North Somerset Council to Judicial Review

Landlords to Take North Somerset Council to Judicial Review

Around 80 buy-to-let landlords attended the event to discuss their collective belief that the process of the council’s initial licensing consultation was careless and unnecessary.

Christian Louka and Robert Carter, of Mydeposits, also attended the event to help landlords with protecting tenancy deposits and dealing with deposit disputes.

The majority of landlords in attendance were from the Central and Hillside wards of Weston-super-Mare, which are directly affected by the proposed scheme. These 51 landlords represented 187 properties in the selective licensing area.

Additionally, 29 North Somerset landlords, who are not in the selective licensing area, came out to support those that will be affected and express their concern over how the council has handled the private rental sector over the last 39 years.

In total, the landlord attendees represented over 700 North Somerset private rental properties.

Independent North Somerset Councillor Derek Mead, also a landlord, pledged his support at the event to get the scheme overturned. One member even flied in from Germany to attend.

Worryingly, however, 25% of the landlords in the selective licensing area had no idea about this scheme being implemented, which is due in November, until the Somerset Property Network campaign was launched.

One of the event’s organisers, Paul Routledge, who owns 44 self-contained flats within the selective licensing area, has spent over £600,000 in refurbishments over the last five years and has even been used by North Somerset Council to show other councils how areas can be improved by good landlords. However, he will soon be forced to pay £14,080 in licensing fees.

He said: “It’s important to understand that our group’s objective is not to fight North Somerset Council, but to work with them to create a better private rented sector for all parties involved.

“For instance, all of my tenants have signed a petition to say they do not need to be selectively licensed and that they are comfortable with their homes. They do not want their rents raised, as suggested by Mr. Mark Hughes, and we do not believe that selective licensing will do the job and that it’ll simply drive a wedge between landlords and their tenants.”

He added: “It’s a shame that North Somerset Council refused our invitation to attend and answer important questions that landlords have about the selective licensing scheme. I think they could have learned a thing or two about constructive debate and the value of listening to the very people who are going to be affected by this scheme.”

Mandatory HMO Licensing to be Extended

Published On: November 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm


Categories: Landlord News

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The compulsory House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing scheme is set to be extended to include two-storey homes and bungalows. It will also enforce a minimum bedroom size rule.

The new regime means that from next year, all HMOs in England with five or more occupants would be included in the mandatory licensing scheme.

Mandatory HMO Licensing to be Extended

Mandatory HMO Licensing to be Extended

The crackdown on single-storey properties is set to combat beds in sheds. The minimum bedroom size would be 6.5 square metres.

The proposal also suggests that some blocks of flats should be classed as HMOs if they have been converted to a poor standard.

At present, the obligatory scheme applies to shared rental properties of three or more storeys, occupied by five or more renters that do not form a single household.

A new consultation on the matter has opened, which proposes an extension to the mandatory scheme throughout England. It would still stick to the five or more tenants and at least two households rules.

The technical discussion document relates to comments made by the Prime Minister in May, when he announced a new mandatory licensing scheme.

The paper, released by the Department for Communities and Local Government, claims that some landlords are not just failing to operate their HMOs properly, but are exploiting renters, “and often the public purse through housing benefit, by renting substandard, overcrowded and dangerous accommodation to vulnerable tenants”.

It notes that not all local authorities have introduced their own additional licensing schemes.

It states: “Many landlords and agents do an excellent job in managing their HMOs to high professional standards, but that is far from universal.”

It adds that it has become “an increasing priority to ensure smaller HMOs are adequately protected and properly managed”.

Currently, landlords are exempt from selective licensing schemes if they let to family members. However, the Government plans to remove this exemption, as it believes it has been abused.

The document says that local authorities have spent time and money trying to establish the identities of various tenants.

The consultation closes on 18th December 2015, with the changes set to be introduced next year.

Meanwhile, local authorities are planning to introduce their own additional licensing schemes, including those that encompass large areas or even the whole city or borough, covering all rental properties.

The latest scheme is in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, which plans to introduce licensing to all private rental homes in one fifth of the borough.

In Blackpool, the first five prosecutions have been brought against landlords that have failed to apply for licenses.

The new consultation document can be found here:

Landlord Licensing is Unnecessary, Says RLA

Published On: October 15, 2015 at 10:00 am


Categories: Landlord News

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The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is calling on local councils to drop landlord licensing schemes, after new legislation reveals that they are unnecessary.

Landlord Licensing is Unnecessary, Says RLA

Landlord Licensing is Unnecessary, Says RLA

Presented to the House of Commons on Tuesday (13th October 2015), measures in the new Housing and Planning Bill indicate that local authorities can use Council Tax registration forms to request details of a property’s tenure and its landlord from the tenant. The RLA campaigned for this rule.

The bill also gives local authorities power to use information held by Government-approved tenancy deposit schemes to enforce regulations affecting private rental housing.

The RLA is now urging councils to stop any licensing schemes in place, as the bill gives them the freedom to collect information without charging high costs to landlords, which then get passed onto tenants in higher rents.

Policy Director at the RLA, David Smith, comments: “The Housing Bill makes clear that landlord licensing schemes are not needed and serve only as a money raising exercise by councils.

“Local authorities now have serious questions to answer. Why are they charging good landlords when they can collect the information they need to drive out criminal landlords using Council Tax registration forms for free?

“It’s time for councils to think again and bring an end to the tenants’ tax once and for all.”1

Do you have to pay for a license in your area? And has this meant you’ve had to increase rent prices?
















Landlords Sign Petition Against Licensing Scheme

A group of landlords in Oldham are set to present the local council with a petition opposing the town’s selective licensing scheme.

Local landlord Zahoor Ahmed says that he has a petition against selective licensing, which has been signed by 150 fellow landlords.

He asks: “Last year I was letting out a property and the tenant left without paying six months rent. Why aren’t they protecting landlords? This is unfair on a lot of people.”1

Landlords Sign Petition Against Licensing Scheme

Landlords Sign Petition Against Licensing Scheme

Oldham Council has selected 16 areas in eight districts due to low housing demand.

Licensing has already been implemented in St. Mary’s, from 1st May this year, and Hathershaw and Waterhead from 6th July.

Additional schemes are due to be launched in Hollinwood and Primrose Bank from 1st September and in Coldhurst, Alexandra and Oldham Edge from 1st January 2016.

Oldham Council will charge landlords a license fee of £490 per rental property for a five-year period.

A council spokesperson states: “Many rented properties fail to meet the required standards, which can have a terrible impact on tenants.

“This scheme aims to ensure private landlords meet satisfactory standards. Landlords need to show basic safety checks have been carried out and they have appropriate management arrangements. All the money that comes in is put straight back into the scheme.”1

Oldham Council ran a consultation on the matter, which ended on 30th September 2014.

80% of 3,672 respondents agreed that selective licensing would improve the elected areas and 85% said they believe the council should have more control over how private landlords manage their properties.

Of the 249 landlords that responded to the consultation, only 20% thought that landlord licensing would have a positive effect on the selected areas.

Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Transport, says: “It is clear from the consultation that our residents, including tenants in private sector homes, back our plans. Good landlords have nothing to fear from this scheme.

“Some landlords have expressed that they think it’s wrong to target all landlords and we have some sympathy with this view. However, selective licensing treats all landlords in an area the same and creates a level playing field.”1


Landlords Object Licensing Scheme in Court

A decision on whether to allow a judicial review regarding a blanket licensing scheme is expected on Thursday 14th August.

Landlords Object Licensing Scheme in Court

Landlords Object Licensing Scheme in Court

This week, Croydon Property Forum – a group of landlords, agents and developers – requested a judicial review from the judge, Sir Stephen Silber, at the High Court.

Croydon’s licensing scheme is set to come into force on 1st October 2015, with five-year licenses costing £750 per property.

The judge heard arguments on whether the council has consulted properly.

Representing Croydon Property Forum, Jonathan Manning said that the council had not sought the opinion of landlords and had ignored the developers that are building “large quantities of housing in the borough, much of which will be made available as private rent.”1

Representing Croydon Council, Clive Sheldon QC argued that it is common sense for developers that are hoping to invest in the borough to do plenty of research.

Meanwhile, another licensing scheme is facing criticism in the centre of Blackpool. The scheme would cost up to £940 per property.

Landlords have warned the council that rents will be increased if the scheme is granted.

They believe that the council already has sufficient resources and legislation to tackle rogue landlords.