Barnet Council launch consultation on additional landlord licensing
More landlords will need to get their properties licensed if proposals for an additional licensing scheme in Barnet get the go-ahead.
Having announced an HMO licensing amnesty last month (read here), Barnet Council are consulting on a proposed additional licensing scheme that would extend licensing to a wider range of multiple-occupied properties. The consultation started on 25 June 2015 and will run for 12 weeks until 17 September 2015.
The additional licensing scheme is expected to cover about 5,000 Houses in Multiple Occupation. The Council say that the scheme is needed to tackle poorly managed properties and drive up housing conditions.
Rather than include all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), the proposal is to license:
- HMOs of two or more storeys containing four or more people;
- Flats in multiple occupation containing four or more people that are on the second storey or higher;
- HMOs containing a resident landlord and four or more other people who are not all related;
- Properties converted into self-contained flats where the conversion did not comply with the appropriate building regulations and still does not, and where the same person owns the whole building and all the flats.
- Any house of two or more storeys comprised of both self-contained and non-self- contained units of accommodation occupied in aggregate by four or more persons in two or more households (not including a resident owner), some of whom share or lack one or more basic amenities such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities.
The proposed licence application fee (based on four lettings) would be £989 for a five-year licence, with a higher fee of £1,179 if the landlord needs assistance with their application.
For landlords who do not apply within the first three months, the council are proposing to issue a one-year licence for £643, rising to £833 if the landlord needs assistance with their application.
The council has said that these fees cover the costs of processing applications and monitoring compliance with licence conditions, but not enforcement costs. As a result of a recent court ruling, they are reviewing their fees structure and may increase these fees to include enforcement costs as well.
Accredited landlords and registered charities would be eligible for a 10% discount and there would be a small discount for online applications. The council have said they would not charge an application fee if the property is made available for lettings by Barnet Homes.
The licensing scheme would last for five years and failure to comply would be an offence that could lead to prosecution and a heavy fine.
Commenting on the consultation, Richard Tacagni, Managing Director at London Property Licensing said:
“I would encourage all landlords, tenants, residents and local businesses to take part in the consultation so that Barnet Council can reflect on all their views and comments before making a final decision.
“I do have some concern about issuing one year licences to all landlords who do not apply within the first three months. There is a danger that tenants will be left to pick up the extra costs through higher rents and I would encourage the council to reconsider this aspect of the scheme“.
To take part in the consultation and complete an online questionnaire, visit https://engage.barnet.gov.uk/environment-planning-and-regeneration/hmo-additional-licensing-scheme/consult_view.