London Borough of Enfield

If you need help understanding the property licensing rules in Enfield you have come to the right place! We are experts in housing regulation and have produced this free guide to help you understand the council’s property licensing schemes.

If you find that you need a licence for your rented property our support doesn’t end there. Our Landlord Suppliers Directory (view here) lists companies that offer a licence application handling service. You can also find companies offering a wide range of other goods and services to help you manage your property portfolio and achieve compliance.

To help set the scene, the London Borough of Enfield is in North London covering an area of 32 square miles. It is bordered by the boroughs of Barnet to the west, Haringey to the south, Waltham Forest to the east and with Hertfordshire and Essex to the north. According to the 2011 Census about 22% (1 in 5) of the housing stock was privately rented which is slightly lower than the London average of 25% (1 in 4).

Do I need a licence to rent out my property?

You do not need a licence if you rent your property to a single family as Enfield Council do not operate a selective licensing scheme.

If you rent your property as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), the answer is a bit more complicated. Some HMOs need a licence under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme that applies throughout England. There is also an additional licensing scheme that started on 1 September 2020. 

To help you decide if you need a licence we’ve outlined the two property licensing schemes below:

1. Mandatory HMO licensing

You will need a mandatory HMO licence if your property meets the standard test, self-contained flat test or converted building test HMO definition in section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 and is occupied by five or more people.

But what are these tests and what does this mean in practice? It means you need a licence for any house or flat that is occupied by five or more people who are not all related and live in the property as their main home. For example, it includes:

  • Shared houses and flats occupied by students and young professionals;
  • Properties converted into bedsits with some shared facilities; and
  • Properties converted into a mixture of self-contained and non self-contained accommodation.

Prior to 1 October 2018, the mandatory HMO licensing scheme only applied to properties that were three or more storeys in height, but that restriction has now been lifted.

The government have decided to exclude purpose built self-contained flats within a block comprising three or more self-contained flats from the mandatory HMO licensing scheme. While this will be good news for some landlords, it does make the licensing scheme far more complicated.

To find out more, you can read our free guide to mandatory HMO licensing (here).

2. Additional licensing

The additional licensing scheme came into force on 1 September 2020 and will continue for five years until 31 August 2025, unless the council decide to revoke the scheme or implement a replacement scheme.

It will apply to most HMOs in the London Borough of Enfield, including all properties shared by three or more people who are not all related and share facilities.

The council have excluded ‘section 257 HMOs: certain converted blocks of flats’ from the scheme. These are properties that:

  • have been converted into self-contained flats; and
  • less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied; and
  • the conversion did not comply with the relevant Building Regulations in force at that time and still does not comply.

This is a complex area of law and you may need further advice.

How much does a licence cost?

It depends on the type of licence you are applying for.

Mandatory HMO licence

There is a fixed fee of £1,100 for an HMO with up to five lettable rooms. For larger HMOs, the cost increases according to the number of lettings. In 2019/20, the council charged an application fee of £697 for an HMO with five lettings, so cost has gone up quite a lot.

Additional licence

There is a fixed fee of £900 per property.

Both licence application fees are payable in two instalments, so you won’t have to pay the full cost up front. 

The council do not advertise any discounts for accredited landlords, which we think is a shame.

The fees we’re listed were correct as of September 2020 but could be subject to change in the future. You can view the fees in full on the council’s website.

How do I apply for a licence?

A new online application system has been developed to coincide with the introduction of additional licensing. You can find out more information on the council’s website.

If you need assistance with your licence application, you can find companies offering a licence application handling service in our Landlord Suppliers Directory (here). Whilst we do handle some applications, we have limited capacity and specialise in more complex cases where we provide our clients with expert advice and assistance.

It is important to remember that submitting a licence application is only the start of the licence approval process. To help landlords understand what happens next, we have published a free guide here.

Are there any standards I need to comply with?

Enfield Council updated their HMO standards in February 2020 and you can view a copy on the council’s website.

The standards cover a range of issues such as kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities, fire precautions, heating, lighting, ventilation and room sizes.

It is important to note that new absolute minimum bedroom sizes for licensed HMOs have been introduced for HMO licence applications approved on or after 1 October 2018:

  • 4.64m2 for a child under 10 years old
  • 6.51m2 for one person over 10 years old
  • 10.22m2 for two people over 10 years old

The council can still ask for larger minimum sizes. These new minimum sizes apply throughout England to HMOs licensed under a mandatory HMO or additional licensing scheme.

How many properties has the Council licensed?

In January 2015, Enfield Council had licensed 54 HMOs under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme. By April 2016, the number had risen to 75, by May 2017 there were 124, by June 2018 there were 154 property and by May 2019, the number had risen to 213.

The Council keeps a public register of licensed HMOs that is regularly updated and can be viewed online. Select ‘HMO Licence (Mandatory)’ from the drop down menu and search all, or select the name or street you are interested in. It’s quite a good system.

Are there lots of unlicensed properties still out there?

In September 2020, Enfield Council said they think about 8,000 properties need licensing under their mandatory HMO and additional licensing schemes. This indicates there could be thousands of landlords who need to get applications submitted as a matter of urgency.

What happens if I don't get a licence?

Ignore the law and you could pay a heavy price. You risk being prosecuted by the Council and if found guilty you could get a criminal record, be fined an unlimited amount and ordered to pay court costs and a victim surcharge.

Alternatively, the council can issue you with a civil penalty notice of up to £30,000 for not having the correct licence without any warning being given, so this is really serious stuff.  

You could also be subject to a Rent Repayment Order and may have to repay up to 12 months rental income.

Whilst the property is unlicensed, you can’t use a Notice of Seeking Possession under Section 21 Housing Act 1988 to evict your tenants. 
And following a successful prosecution, you would probably fail a fit and proper person assessment, making it very difficult for you to obtain a property licence in the future.

Don’t put your livelihood and reputation at risk. Make sure you comply with the law.

Does the Council take much housing enforcement action?

Enfield Council told us they took no housing prosecutions over the five years from April 2011 to March 2016, which put them at the bottom of the league table when compared to other London Boroughs. 

Enfield Council did not obtain any Rent Repayment Orders from the landlords of unlicensed HMOs over the five years from April 2011 to March 2016. 

For all the latest information, you can search for housing prosecutions on the Mayor of London’s ‘Rogue landlord and agent checker’, available here.

How many accredited landlords are there?

There are landlord accreditation schemes operated by the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme, the National Landlords Association (NLA) and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).  

Whilst we don’t have any figures for the NLA or RLA schemes, we have got information about the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme that is supported by all the London Boroughs. In January 2016, they told us there were 543 accredited landlords in Enfield, which was slightly above average when compared to all London boroughs.

By January 2018, there were 595 accredited landlords, by January 2019 there were 725 accredited landlords and by January 2020 there were 781 accredited landlords, which is slightly below average when compared to all the London boroughs. To find out more about becoming accredited, you can visit the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme website here.

In addition to training and development, accredited landlords are entitled to various benefits, including discounted licensing fees in some boroughs. If you are not already a member, we would encourage you to think about joining!

Is the Council planning to introduce any new licensing schemes?

Yes, a new additional licensing scheme started on 1 September 2020. The council also want to introduce a selective licensing scheme. There is quite a long story so we’ll try and keep it brief.

On 9 April 2014, Enfield Council’s Cabinet made a decision to implement borough wide selective and additional licensing schemes (read here). The schemes were due to come into force on 1 April 2015 and last for five years.

A local landlord, Mr Constantinos Regas, took the council to Judicial Review to try and get the licensing schemes overturned. Enfield Council’s Cabinet met to discuss the matter again on 12 November 2014 (read here). They further ratified their decision to implement a borough wide additional HMO licensing scheme.

The Judicial Review was heard in the High Court on 26 November 2014. On 11 December 2014, His Honour Judge McKenna handed down the judgement (read here). In summary, it was held that the Enfield additional and selective licensing schemes were not lawfully designated and so both licensing schemes were cancelled. The reason was linked to the consultation arrangements. 

Whilst the High Court refused permission for Enfield Council to appeal the decision, the council petitioned the Court of Appeal direct as they wanted to challenge the judgement. On 9 July 2015, the Council announced that they had been granted permission to appeal, but had decided not to do so. As a result, the Judicial Review decision stands and both licensing schemes have been cancelled.

It all then went quiet for a few years until, on 20 June 2019, a decision was made to consult again on two proposed licensing schemes. The decision was then called in by eight councillors unhappy about the decision.

On 15 July 2019, the issue was discussed by the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee (read here) who decided the consultation should proceed.

On 28 August 2019 the council launched a consultation on proposals to introduce additional and selective licensing schemes. The consultation continued until 29 November 2019 and you can find out more information here.

On 22 January 2020, the council’s Cabinet meeting approved proposals for a borough wide additional licensing scheme. They also decided to approach the Secretary of State for permission to implement selective licensing across 13 wards (read here – see agenda item 5).

There is clearly a lot going on at Enfield Council so we will monitor the situation closely. You can sign up to our free newsletter for all the latest news.

Do I need planning permission for my HMO?

You will need planning permission if you are changing your property from a single-family property to a house in multiple occupation (HMO) occupied by more than six people. HMOs occupied by more than six people fall within ‘sui-generis’ use for which planning permission is required. You also need planning permission if you a splitting up a property into smaller self-contained units of accommodation. 

For smaller HMOs, the rules are more complicated. HMOs occupied by up to six people fall into planning use class C4 whereas single-family properties fall into planning use class C3.

On 22 October 2012, Enfield Council made a borough-wide Article 4 Direction that removes the permitted development rights to change a property from use class C3 to use class C4 without planning permission. The HMO Article 4 Direction came into force on 22 October 2013 and you can download a copy from the ‘More Information’ box on the right of this page.

The effect of the Article 4 Direction is to require planning permission to change the use from a single-family property (C3) to an HMO with up to six occupants (class C4). So even letting your property to three people who are not all related could require planning permission.

We have prepared some general advice on HMO Article 4 Directions that you may find useful, available here

Remember that this is only intended as general advice and no liability can be accepted for any reliance upon information provided. We would strongly encourage you to contact the Council’s Planning Department or seek independent legal advice. You can find out more information on the council’s website

Can you help me find the goods and services I need?

We certainly can. We understand the challenges of being a private landlord and so we have developed a Landlord Suppliers Directory to provide you with access to the goods and services you need. The Directory concentrates on businesses that operate in the London area.

Whether you a looking for a letting agent, want a property inventory for a new tenancy or fire risk assessment, we have got it covered – and far more besides!

As the leading experts in property licensing, we also offer a range of services ourselves. From handling the licence application process to advice on new HMO developments, we can help to ensure your property business remains compliant. If you need assistance, please drop us a line and see if we can help! 

New suppliers are regularly being added and we would encourage you to take a look. Some of our featured listings also contain YouTube videos, helping you to find out more about the business. 

How do I find out more?

You can contact the council at: 

HMO Licensing
Private Sector Housing Standards Team

Enfield Council
Civic Centre

Enfield EN1 3XH

Tel:     020 3821 1761

Enfield News

Enfield Events

Enfield Comment

At a Glance

Licence Overview

No selective licensing in Enfield but the mandatory HMO licensing scheme applies borough wide. A borough wide additional licensing scheme started on 1 September 2020.

More Information

Contacting the Council

Tel: 020 3821 1761
Weblink: Enfield HMO licensing

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