Additional licensing scheme given the green light in Barnet

Tuesday, August 30th, 2022 - Barnet Council

Barnet additonal licensing scheme given the green light 2022

On 26 July 2022, Barnet Council issued a Public Notice giving three months’ notice that an additional licensing scheme would be introduced.

The council’s previous additional licensing scheme was in force for five years from 5 July 2016 to 4 July 2021. The old scheme applied borough wide but was restricted to most HMOs comprising two or more storeys, occupied by four or more people.

Licensing consultation

The council had consulted on proposals for new additional and selective licensing schemes from 5 August to 5 November 2021.

According to the council, they received 466 online responses to the questionnaire and 9 written responses. They held three events attended by 29 homeowners, landlords and managing agents.

In summary:

  • 53% of respondents supported the re-introduction of additional licensing.
  • 40% of respondents supported the introduction of selective licensing schemes.
  • Tenants and owner occupiers were more inclined to support the proposals and landlords and letting agents were more inclined to oppose the proposals.

New additional licensing scheme starts 27 October 2022

The new additional licensing scheme starts on 27 October 2022 and is more extensive than the old scheme. It applies borough wide and includes most Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) occupied by three or more people. This includes shared houses, shared flats and bedsit accommodation.

Whilst the licensing scheme includes so-called ‘section 257 HMOs’ which are certain buildings converted into flats, they only need to be licensed if they are three or more storeys in height, all the flats are privately rented and the whole building and all the flats are under the same ownership or control.

How much will licensing cost?

According to the council’s website, all HMO licence applications for up to five people are charged at £1,404.02, with a 10% discount for accredited landlords.

It indicates there will be a lower fee of £1,263.21 for online applications, but no online application system is yet available, and no indication when it will go live.

The council’s website makes no mention of any early bird fee discount.

With all landlords and agents having to submit licence applications by 27 October 2022 to ensure compliance, it would be helpful to know when the new online application system will be launched.

The council have said landlords are strongly encouraged to submit their applications early to avoid the risk of enforcement action.

What about selective licensing?

London Property Licensing understands that no selective licensing scheme has yet been designated.

Whereas the council consulted on proposals for selective licensing across nine wards, we understand the first selective licensing scheme will be restricted to three wards: Burnt Oak, Colindale North and Colindale South.

In the meantime, we understand the council intend to draw up new proposals for a further selective licensing consultation on a second larger scheme, timing unknown.

The council have indicated they may implement a selective licensing scheme in early 2023, although they have said more information will be published later in the year.

Councillor Ross Houston, Barnet’s Chair of the Housing & Growth Committee, said:

It is important that we keep housing in the private rented sector at a high standard. Safety is paramount. Our Officers work diligently to ensure high standards, which will benefit tenants, good landlords and our community. These new measures will also help further reduce anti-social behaviour that can sometimes be associated with HMOs, and that can only be a good thing for everybody.

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

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