Hillingdon additional licensing scheme extended for another five years
An additional licensing scheme in Hillingdon, West London, is to be extended for another five years, research by London Property Licensing can reveal.
The first additional licensing scheme started on 8 March 2010 and operated for five years until it closed on 7 March 2015. The scheme required landlords to obtain a licence for all houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) that were two storeys high and occupied by five or more people forming two or more households. The scheme applied to 13 wards in the south of the borough.
According to the council, they had originally expected to license about 519 properties, although that estimate was recently increased to 577. By the time the first scheme ended, 362 HMOs had been licensed and from April 2011 to March 2014, the council had taken five housing prosecutions for property licensing offences. This does suggest quite significant evasion of the licensing scheme.
Following a decision at the Council’s Cabinet meeting on 23 July 2015, a new additional licensing scheme will start on 8 November 2015 and operate for five years until 7 November 2020.
The council says that the additional licensing scheme is an important part of the Council’s overall Housing Strategy and that the continuation of the scheme enables greater controls to be applied to HMO housing stock for the benefit of the tenants and surrounding neighbourhoods.
The council say they intend to continue robust enforcement through their Rogue Landlord / Illegal Outbuilding Taskforce.
According to the Cabinet Report, the council discussed the proposal to renew their additional licensing scheme at a Private Sector Landlord Forum on 24 March and an online questionnaire was posted on their website for 10 weeks from 21 April 2015, with notifications sent to the National Landlords Association, Residential Landlords Association and Southern Landlords Association.
Yet awareness of the on-line consultation appears to have been very low, with just 11 responses received, six being from landlords and agents, four responses from borough residents and one response from a resident living outside the borough.
The council report concludes that there was very strong support for renewal of the additional licensing scheme.
The council has also approved a substantial increase in HMO licensing fees for both the mandatory HMO and additional licensing schemes. The fee is now £980 per property for a new licence and £735 per property for a renewal, with licences normally lasting for five years.
The discount previously offered to accredited landlords has been removed and there will be no early-bird discount offered for the replacement scheme.
For further information about property licensing in Hillingdon, you can visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/hillingdon.