Harrow Council consults on renewing their additional licensing scheme
Having operated an additional licensing scheme for almost five years, Harrow Council is consulting on whether the scheme should be renewed for a further five years.
The existing scheme requires certain Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to be licensed throughout the borough. The consultation is running from 14 May to 14 August 2015 and survey forms are available on the Council’s website – one for landlords and one for residents.
Landlords, tenants, letting agents, residents and local businesses are all being encouraged to take part.
The existing additional licensing scheme runs from 1 November 2010 to 31 October 2015 and landlords must pay a fee of £1,250 to obtain a licence for each property. The licence normally lasts for five years.
As part of the consultation exercise, the council do not appear to have published an evaluation of the current scheme or the evidence base for introducing a new one.
In April 2015, Harrow Council told London Property Licensing that 226 private rented properties had been licensed under the additional licensing scheme, although they had expected to receive about 490 licence applications.
This does suggest many landlords may have evaded the current licensing scheme, or been unaware of it’s existence. From April 2011 to March 2014, the council prosecuted two landlords under the Housing Act 2004.
Commenting on the consultation, Richard Tacagni, Managing Director of London Property Licensing said:
“Before implementing a replacement additional licensing scheme, the council should publish an evaluation of its current scheme so that all interested parties can assess how effective it has been. An informed judgement can then be made on the merits and evidence base for renewing the scheme for a further five years“.
Further information on property licensing in Harrow is available at www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/harrow.