London Borough of Haringey

If you need help understanding the property licensing rules in Haringey 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. We can handle the licence application process and give you expert advice and guidance along the way (read here). Once you have read through our guide, if you do need any assistance you can contact us here.  

We also have a Landlord Suppliers Directory (here) to help you find the goods and services you need in the London area, with new suppliers regularly added. 

To help set the scene, the London Borough of Haringey is in North London covering an area of 11 square miles. It is bordered by the boroughs of Barnet to the west, Enfield to the north, Waltham Forest to the east and Camden, Islington and Hackney to the south. According to the 2011 Census, about 31% (1 in 3) of the housing stock was privately rented which is higher 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 Haringey Council do not operate a selective licensing scheme. However, if you rent out a flat in a converted building, you should also check the additional licensing scheme below as some buildings containing flats do need to be licensed.

If you rent out your property as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) the answer is more complicated. Haringey Council operate an additional licensing scheme plus the mandatory HMO licensing scheme that applies throughout England and Wales. 

To help you decide if you need a licence we’ve outlined the two HMO 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 (Tottenham Area)

This additional licensing scheme came into force on 1 May 2014 and will end on 31 April 2019. However, the council recently consulted on introducing new licensing schemes so there could be further changes coming soon.

It applies to all HMOs in the wards of Bruce Grove, Northumberland Park, Seven Sisters, Tottenham Hale and Tottenham Green. A map showing the five wards is available on the council's website

The council have included ‘section 257 HMOs: certain converted blocks of flats’ in 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.

The council have decided all section 257 HMOs need a licence if they are above a non-residential premises (i.e. an office, shop, etc.). But a section 257 HMO not above commercial premises only needs licensing if the total number of dwellings exceeds the number of storeys in the building and where the building and all the flats within it are either in the same ownership or are considered by the by the council to be effectively under the same control.

Confused? Yes, we were as well. It does seem a rather complicated definition! You may need to read it few a few times and seek further advice if you are still unsure. You can study the designation yourself in the 'More Information’ box on the right of this web-page.

3. Additional licensing (Harringay Ward) 

This additional licensing scheme ended on 30 September 2016, although licences granted under the scheme remain in force until the expiry date on the licence.

It applied to all HMOs in the Harringay Ward together with the neighbouring north side of Turnpike Lane plus the neighbouring east side of Green Lanes, together with all of Salisbury Road in the St Ann’s ward. The council included ‘section 257 HMOs: certain converted blocks of flats’ in the scheme. 

How much does a licence cost?

For a mandatory or additional licence, Haringey Council charges a standard HMO licence fee of £208 per unit of accommodation or bedroom in a shared house. So that is £1,040 for a three storey shared house with five single person lettings. There are some discounts including a £100 discount for members of the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme.

On the council’s website, it also says they may reduce the length of your licence in certain circumstances. For example, if you are not accredited, your licence period may be reduced by a year and if you fall behind on Council Tax payments, they may reduce the licence by up to two years. This seems a bit harsh and we think it could be subject to challenge if it was too rigidly enforced.

The fees we have listed were published on the council’s website in January 2019 but could be subject to change in the future. 

How do I apply for a licence?

The application process is a bit old fashioned. You can download the application form, complete it by hand and post it back to the council. The form and accompanying guidance notes can be downloaded from the council’s website

Alternatively, you can ask the council to send you an application pack in the post, which will cut down on your printing costs.

If you need assistance with your licence application, we can help you. We offer a unique hassle-free, one-stop-shop service to handle your licence application from start to finish and all for a fixed fee. As part of the service, we carry out an inspection of your property and provide expert advice on compliance. You can find out more about our licence application handling service here.

You can also find other companies offering a licence application handling service in our Landlord Suppliers Directory (here).

Are there any standards I need to comply with?

Yes, Haringey Council’s HMO standards can be downloaded from the council’s website. Once you've clicked on the link, you will need to scroll down to the bottom of the page.

The standards cover a range of issues such as kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities, fire precautions, heating, lighting, ventilation and room sizes. They apply to all licensed HMOs.

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 February 2015, Haringey Council told us they had licensed 360 HMOs under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme and a further 321 HMOs under the two additional licensing schemes. The Council told us they were currently processing another 89 applications in the Tottenham licensing scheme.

In October 2016, the council told us they had licensed 437 HMOs under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme, 526 HMOs under the Harringay additional licensing scheme and 185 under the Tottenham additional licensing schemes. So that’s an increase of almost 500 licensed properties since we last checked.

Haringey Council keeps a public register of licensed properties that is regularly updated and can be viewed on the council’s website

Are there lots of unlicensed properties still out there?

We don’t really know. Haringey Council have told us that their last house condition survey was carried out 15 years ago and so they have no reliable figures for the number of HMOs that need licensing under the mandatory HMO licensing and Harringay additional licensing schemes.

For the Tottenham additional licensing scheme, they have told us there are about 3,000 HMOs in the area, although some section 257 HMOs will fall outside the scope of the scheme. But it does suggest there could still be hundreds if not a thousand or more unlicensed HMOs in the borough.

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. We can help you get your property licensed! (find out more

Does the Council take much housing enforcement action?

Haringey Council told us they took 57 housing prosecutions over the three years from April 2011 to March 2014, which makes them the second highest borough in London when it comes to housing enforcement action. Seventeen of these prosecutions were for HMO licensing offences.

A further 14 housing prosecutions were carried out in 2014/15 and 5 more in 2015/16. They really are serious when it comes to housing enforcement action!

The council obtained five Rent Repayment Orders from the landlords of unlicensed HMOs over the five years from April 2011 to March 2016. In March 2015, one case was subject to appeal but the Upper Tribunal rejected the appeal and the landlord was ordered to pay £16,000. You can read more about the appeal hearing in the news section below.

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 641 accredited landlords in Haringey, which was the sixth highest out of all London boroughs.

By January 2018, that figure had increased to 894, which is now the fifth highest 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, the council are exploring options for introducing new licensing schemes. Let us explain.

When Haringey Council consulted on their draft Housing Strategy 2015 – 2020, they included a proposal to bring in further licensing. 

In October 2016, the council told us that following the government’s decision to extend the mandatory HMO licensing scheme, they had no plans to consult on a replacement additional licensing scheme for the Harringay ward as they thought the enlarged mandatory HMO licensing scheme would capture most of these properties anyway.

However, they did say that they are still considering plans for a borough wide additional HMO licensing scheme and also a selective licensing scheme. Following data analysis carried out in 2015/16, they said they were consulting with councillors and partner agencies before deciding on next steps.

Everything went quiet for a while until the council undertook a licensing consultation from 11 December 2017 to 5 March 2018. The proposal included a borough wide additional licensing scheme plus a selective licensing scheme applying to all private rented homes in 29 parts of the borough. You can read more about the consultation on the council’s website

When we checked again in January 2019, the council's website said they intended to present a report to the council’s Cabinet Meeting in October 2018 with a recommendation to introduce these new licensing schemes. However, we can find no record of a report going to the October, November or December meetings and so have asked the council for an update.

There’s clearly a lot happening in Haringey and so we will monitor the situation closely. For all the latest news, you can sign up to our free newsletter.  

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 will also need planning permission if you a splitting up a property into smaller self-contained units of accommodation.

For small HMOs, the rules are a bit more complicated. HMOs occupied and shared by between three and six people fall into planning use class C4 whereas single-family properties fall into planning use class C3.

On 30 November 2012, Haringey Council made an HMO Article 4 Direction that removes the permitted development rights to change a property from a single-family house (use class C3) to an HMO occupied by up to six people (use class C4) without planning permission.

We understand that the HMO Article 4 Direction came into force on 30 November 2013 and applies to the council wards of Bounds Green, Bruce Grove, Harringay, Northumberland Park, Noel Park, St Ann’s, Seven Sisters, Tottenham Green, Tottenham Hale, West Green, White Hart Lane and Woodside. From that date, letting your property to three or more people who are not all related is likely to require planning permission. You can find out more information on the council’s website

We have also published some general advice on HMO Article 4 Directions 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 before you start a new HMO development. 

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: 

Housing Improvement Team
Haringey Council
Level 6 - Alexandra House
10 Station Road
N22 7TR 

Tel:    020 8489 1000

Haringey News

Haringey Events

Haringey Comment

At a Glance

Licence Overview

Mandatory HMO licensing scheme applies borough wide and additional licensing applies to part of the borough. There is no selective licensing scheme.

An additional and selective licensing consultation ended on 5 March 2018.

More Information

Water for Kids charity advert
Waltham Forest licensing consultation 2019
Hackney landlord licensing schemes