Additional licensing has ended in Hounslow, but will it be renewed?

Friday, June 14th, 2019 -

Hounslow Council’s additional licensing scheme that was introduced in 2014 has recently expired.

The council’s property licensing scheme that extended HMO licensing to all properties of two or more storeys occupied by four or more people and certain section 257 HMOs came to an end on 31 May 2019, although when we last checked, it was still mentioned on the council’s website.

Whilst the additional licensing scheme has ended, the mandatory HMO licensing scheme that applies to most HMOs occupied by five or more people remains in force. Licences issued under the old additional licensing scheme also remain in force until the expiry date on the licence.

Consultation on licensing scheme renewal

From 23 January to 3 April 2019, Hounslow Council consulted plans for a replacement licensing scheme covering all HMOs occupied by three or more people who are not all related, regardless of the number of storeys. Under the proposed scheme, even a flat let to three friends on one tenancy would require licensing. The council have also said the licensing of section 257 HMOs will continue.

Whilst the consultation ended in April 2019, no decision has yet been made about whether to renew the scheme. We understand some concerns have been raised that that the evidence base used to support the new scheme proposal was not published as part of the consultation exercise.

The Residential Landlords Association have said they believe this means the council did not fulfil their legal requirement to take reasonable steps to consult person who are likely to be affected by the designation and have called on the council to run the consultation again (read here).

According to the Forward Plan on the council’s website, it indicates that a report will be presented to the council’s Cabinet meeting on 9 July with a proposal to approve the new scheme, although the report has not yet been published and the recommendations in the report are not yet known.

If the new licensing scheme is approved, and assuming no legal challenge, it would come into force at least three months after the scheme designation is published. On this basis, the earliest date for implementation of the new scheme is likely to be October 2019.

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

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