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Lewisham landlords warned – get your HMO licensed or face enforcement action

Thursday, June 16, 2022 - Lewisham Council

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Lewisham Council has launched a new licensing scheme for all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the borough, helping to improve conditions for private renters and tackle poor quality housing.

The scheme, which came into force on 5 April 2022, applies to all HMOs in the London Borough of Lewisham not covered by the national mandatory HMO licensing scheme.

According to the council, an estimated 6,000 HMOs need licensing in the borough and the council have committed to inspecting every property as part of the licensing process. London Property Licensing anticipate this could lead to long delays in processing licences, based on experience in some other boroughs.

HMOs covered by the scheme will be required to meet set standards for room sizes, provision of shared facilities and health and safety - ensuring safe, secure and well-managed properties for tenants. With one in four Lewisham residents living in the private rented sector, extending HMO licensing is a key part of the council’s commitment to supporting private renters and tackling poor quality housing in the borough.

Lewisham Council have said landlords who fail to comply with the new licensing scheme will face enforcement action – including the risk of a fine or criminal prosecution. Penalties can include a criminal conviction and hefty fine, civil financial penalty of up to £30,000 per offence, rent repayment orders and restrictions on ending tenancies.

HMO landlords who are yet to apply for a licence are being urged to do so, in order to avoid the risk of enforcement action.

Councillor Sophie Davis, Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Homelessness at Lewisham Council said:

"Too many private renters are having to deal with unsafe or insecure accommodation - particularly those living in HMOs. Licensing all HMOs will help improve the quality of housing across Lewisham and help us protect our residents from rogue landlords.

"Hundreds of HMO landlords have already come forward to register their property, enabling us to carry out inspections and ensure they meet our high standards. We will be working pro-actively to ensure that every eligible HMO is licensed and will take action against those landlords who fail to comply.

Our free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing and HMO planning rules in the London Borough of Lewisham is available here.

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