Hounslow additional licensing scheme starts 1 August 2020
A new borough wide additional licensing scheme will come into force in the London Borough of Hounslow on 1 August 2020.
Having withdrawn their proposed additional licensing scheme in September 2019 following the threat of legal challenge (read here), Hounslow Council undertook a second round of consultation from 18 October to 27 December 2019 (read here).
According to the council, 37 people responded to the online survey, plus there was one written submission from safeagent. 43% of respondents to the online survey were landlords / agents, 32.5% were owner occupiers, 13.5% were tenants and 11% other.
Overall, 54% of respondents were opposed to the proposed additional licensing scheme, 43% were in favour and 3% did not know.
The results were presented at the council’s Cabinet meeting on 17 March 2020 and a new borough wide additional licensing scheme was approved. The previous scheme had expired in May 2019.
Which properties need licensing
The new additional licensing includes most Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) occupied by three or more people who are not all related, and where the property does not already need licensing under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme.
In setting the licensing criteria, the council have decided to exclude multi-occupied self-contained flats in purpose build blocks containing three or more flats. According to the council, these properties have better standards of construction and fire safety than converted flats without appropriate Building Regulation approval.
Whilst the council have included so-called ‘section 257 HMOs’ (certain converted blocks of flats) within the licensing scheme, they will only need licensing if all the flats are privately rented and the building and all the flats within it are either in the same ownership or considered by the council to be effectively under the same control.
Additional licenses for HMOs occupied by three or four people will be charged at the same rate as mandatory HMO licences for higher occupancy properties – a fixed fee of £1,250 per property.
There is no reference to any early bird fee discount.
There is a £75 discount if the landlord or managing agent belongs to a recognised accreditation scheme.
The scheme comes into force on 1 August 2020 and landlords should apply by that date to ensure compliance with licensing rules.
A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing in the London Borough of Hounslow is available here.
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