News

Additional licensing in Barnet has ended, but new consultation coming soon

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 - Barnet Council

An additional licensing scheme that covered most Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the London Borough of Barnet ended on 4 July 2021.

The borough wide scheme, which started on 5 July 2016, had extended licensing to most HMOs occupied by four or more people, plus some section 257 HMOs.

Whilst the additional licensing scheme has ended, the mandatory HMO licensing scheme still applies to most HMOs occupied by five or more people.

How effective was the scheme

In May 2019, Barnet Council estimated that 3,836 properties required licensing under the additional licensing scheme, although that estimate has since dropped to 2,900.

In May 2019, Barnet Council said that 501 properties had been licensed and by May 2021, that number had increased to 591. This suggests that about 20% of properties were licensed and 80% did not apply for a licence.

According to the council, the following enforcement action was taken during the additional licensing scheme:

  • 13 civil financial penalties imposed and not withdrawn. Two more penalties are currently subject to appeal.
  • 40 prosecutions for HMO licensing and management offences
  • 1 Rent Repayment Order
  • 4 Prohibition Orders, 6 Emergency Prohibition Orders and 1 Suspended Prohibition Order
  • 3 Improvement Notices on licensed HMOs

Next steps for licensing in Barnet

At the time of publication, the additional licensing scheme is still listed on the council’s website and on the Mayor of London’s property licence checker. However, anyone who submits an additional licence application after 4 July 2021 would be entitled to a full refund.

With the five year licensing scheme only attracting a fifth of the applications expected, a report was presented to the Barnet Council’s Housing and Growth Committee on 14 June 2021 recommending a public consultation on new licensing schemes.

The proposal includes a new borough wide additional licensing scheme with a wider remit to include HMOs occupied by three or more people, plus certain section 257 HMOs.

The council is also proposing three selective licensing schemes covering all other private rented properties in eight council wards. One scheme would be approved by the council whilst the other two schemes would require Secretary of State approval.

At the time of publication, it is not known when the consultation will start. Any new scheme is unlikely to start before early 2022.

A free guide containing more information about HMO licensing rules in the London Borough of Barnet is available here.

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