News

Selective landlord licensing scheme in Croydon has ended

Monday, October 5, 2020 - Croydon Council

End of Croydon selective licensing scheme 2020

A borough wide selective licensing scheme that extended licensing to all private rented homes in the London Borough of Croydon ended on 30 September 2020.

When the scheme was introduced in October 2015, Croydon Council said it would help to address significant and persistent problems with anti-social behaviour and poor property management (read here).

With growth in the private rented sector, the council estimated there were over 48,500 private rented properties in the borough by the time the licensing scheme ended.

In May 2019, as part of a survey undertaken for safeagent by London Property Licensing, the council said that over 34,000 selective licences had been granted (read here). We do not know how many properties had been licensed by the time the scheme ended.

According to the council, over 13,000 properties were inspected during the licensing scheme with many issues resolved informally. In more problematic cases, over 1,000 enforcement notices and 75 prohibition orders were served. Over 40 landlords were issued with civil financial penalties or prosecuted.

Next steps for property licensing in Croydon

Selective and additional licensing schemes are limited to a maximum of five years and can only be extended after reviewing the evidence base and conducting a further public consultation exercise.

Unlike many boroughs, Croydon Council decided not to pursue plans for additional licensing that is restricted to houses in multiple occupation. Additional licensing in Croydon ended in 2015.

Instead, the council consulted on plans for a replacement selective licensing scheme from 16 December 2019 to 9 March 2020 (read here). Two options were consulted upon – one extending borough wide and another extending to 97% of the borough.

On 11 May 2020, the council’s cabinet meeting approved plans for a new scheme. Under legislation introduced since Croydon’s previous scheme came into force, government approval is needed for any new licensing scheme that covers more than 20% of the private rented sector or 20% of the geographical area of a borough.

According to the council, the option submitted to government is for a borough wide scheme. It would target antisocial behaviour in six wards in the south and poor housing conditions in 22 wards mainly in the north and centre of the borough.

On 20 July 2020, the council submitted an application to government, seeking permission to implement a replacement selective licensing scheme with a proposed start date of 1 February 2021.

London Property Licensing understands the council has since been in discussion with government officials and is awaiting their decision. It is not known whether the council’s licensing scheme application will be successful. If the proposal is rejected, the council may be forced back to the drawing board to develop new plans. The government may be reluctant to approve a new scheme at a time when COVID19 cases in the capital are once again on the increase.

When the application was submitted to government in July 2020, Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services at Croydon Council commented:

Our landlord licensing scheme has made a positive difference to the lives of thousands of private tenants across the borough, and the proposals we’ve now submitted to government are about building on this crucial work for another five years.

The importance of having a decent, safe and secure home has become even clearer since the pandemic lockdown, and it underlines why we need the government to approve our scheme so we can continue to raise living standards in Croydon.

A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing in the London Borough of Croydon is available here.

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