Hounslow Council launch consultation on plans to extend and widen their additional landlord licensing scheme
With Hounslow Council’s additional licensing scheme set to end on 31 May 2019, the council have launched a consultation on plans to extend and widen their landlord licensing scheme.
At present additional licensing in Hounslow is restricted to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) that are two or more storeys in height and occupied by four or more people. The licensing scheme also extends to certain converted blocks of flats, so-called section 257 HMOs, but only where all the flats in the building are in the same ownership.
Under the new plans, borough wide additional licensing would extend to all HMOs occupied by three or more people who are not all related, regardless of the number of storeys. Even a flat let to three friends on one tenancy would require licensing.
The council have said the licensing of section 257 HMOs will continue, although it is unclear whether the restriction to blocks all in the same ownership will remain.
The council say that the extension of the licensing scheme will enable them to continue improving housing standards in private rented homes and will help to tackle rogue landlords. Issues to be tackled include enforcing new minimum room sizes, limits on the numbers of people sharing facilities, higher standards for property maintenance, tenancy management and controlling antisocial behaviour.
Cllr Dunne, Lead Member for Communities and Workforce, Hounslow Council said:
“People who live in HMO’s are often the most vulnerable in society and with some landlords face uncertain, overcrowded and sometimes dangerous conditions. Through this additional licencing scheme, we seek to put in place further regulations to continue to protect the living conditions of private renters in the borough. Landlords who fail to maintain a good standard of accommodation would be required to bring their properties up to scratch in line with the proposed regulations. We will come down hard on those that don’t and will prosecute where necessary.“
Cllr Lily Bath, Lead Member for Housing and Social Inclusion, Hounslow Council said:
“We know that private rentals are on the rise in Hounslow and we must do all we can to ensure tenants aren’t taken advantage of by the small few who have disregard to the regulations and expected standards we have in place. The welfare of tenants in Hounslow is a strong priority for the council and we look forward to working with landlords to ensure, taking into consideration the feedback from our residents, that the proposed additional licensing scheme is a great success and will improve the quality of accommodation in the borough.“
The consultation started on 23 January 2019 and is open until 3 April 2019, with more information here.
With the consultation running until April 2019, London Property Licensing anticipate there will be a gap of several months between the old scheme ending and the new scheme starting. Once Cabinet approve a new scheme, the council must still make a scheme designation and give three months notice before it comes into force.
A free guide to property licensing schemes in Hounslow containing more detailed guidance is available on the London Property Licensing website here.
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