The RLA is warning that rents in the London Borough of Camden could rise if an additional HMO licensing scheme is renewed.
Camden Borough Council is currently consulting on plans to renew the five year scheme, which is coming to an end.
If plans to renew the scheme get the go ahead, all HMO landlords in Camden would be required to obtain a licence, in order to let their property out lawfully.
Currently, only HMOs which fall into the scope of ‘mandatory licensing’ are required to be licensed in England (unless a selective or additional licensing scheme is in place).
In December, Camden Borough Council launched a 12 week consultation inviting the thoughts of landlords, tenants and residents on the plan.
Camden Borough Council say that renewing the scheme will make sure (the council) continues to make homes in Camden safe, warm and secure as set out in our Camden Plan and will help the council to “continue to tackle rogue landlords who own or rent an HMO without a licence”.
However, the RLA has responded to the consultation, opposing the renewal of the schemes for several issues listed below.
The RLA’s response to the consultation
You can read the RLA’s consultation response in full here.
“Excessively” high licence cost could lead to increased rents
The council is proposing to charge landlords a fee of £1300 per licence application, which the RLA has warned is excessively high and could lead to landlords passing the cost on to tenants in the form of increased rents, in order to cover the cost of applying for a licence-and so doing nothing to address affordability.
In addition to this, the focus of staff becomes the processing of licences, and prosecutions tend to centre of whether a property is licensed or not, rather than improving management standards and property conditions.
The Council already has the necessary tools to tackle poor housing management without introducing this licensing scheme
There are more than 150 Acts of Parliament and 400 regulations affecting landlords in the private rented sector.
Rather than renew this scheme, the RLA wants to see the council make the most of the existing powers they already have to root out criminal landlords, including civil penalties and rent repayment orders.
What does the RLA want to see?
Rather than renewing the additional licensing scheme, the RLA has suggested that the council use council tax records to identify private rented properties and landlords. Unlike licensing, this does not require self-identification by landlords, making it harder for the small minority of criminal landlords to operate under the radar.
Have your say on the plans
More information about the proposals can be read on Camden Borough Council’s web pages, as well as details of how to respond to this consultation. The consultation closes on 8th March 2020.
What is additional licensing?
Additional licensing applies to HMOs which are not subject to mandatory HMO licensing but which are of a description designated for HMO licensing by the local authority. The authority may designate either the whole of their area or part of their area as subject to additional HMO licensing for a specific type of HMO or all HMOs not subject to mandatory licensing.
- Keep up to date with licensing news. Read about other current licensing consultations and the RLA’s most recent responses here.