The London Borough of Greenwich are currently running a consultation on a new Additional licensing scheme which will affect the whole borough. This scheme, if approved, will run for 5 years and will apply to small HMOs which are not licensed under mandatory HMO licensing.
The council have cited the reasons for introducing such a scheme as:
- Anti Social Behaviour
- Unfit landlords
- Improve the knowledge of the Royal Borough on where the HMOs are and how many people live in PRS accommodation
- Improving neighbourhoods which in turn would increase rental prices
The Royal Borough have set the fees for the licence at £462 per habitable room within a HMO. If applicants get their application in 3 months before the scheme is launched they receive a 20% discount, dropping the fee to £370 per room. A 10% discount fee will be applied to each applicant who is a member of a professional body or accreditation scheme, we have had clarification that this includes the RLA. In order to try and increase the incentive to apply for a licence the fee will increase by 30% over the standard fee level for each licence that should have been applied for, increasing it to £601 per habitable room.
However the RLA has long opposed such licensing schemes, arguing councils can already access landlords’ details through council tax registration forms and should concentrate their resources on tackling criminal landlords through enforcement action rather than introducing costly licensing schemes. All this scheme will do is punish good landlords who will be forced to pay for costly licences while the criminals continue to operate below the radar – all while raking in millions of pounds for the council.
The consultation ends on the 24th February 2017, the RLA will be submitting a reply and we urge our members to do the same. If a decision to proceed is made by the council the scheme is likely to come into operation as early as June/July 2017.
To learn more about the consultation proposed by the London Borough of Greenwich, to see the conditions of the licence, and to have your say visit: