Islington Council launch consultation on changes to their 2021 selective licensing scheme
In a surprise move, London Property Licensing understands a new selective licensing consultation started in the London Borough of Islington on Thursday 23 December 2021.
Timed to start just before the Christmas holidays, the consultation sets out plans to alter the selective licensing scheme that came into force just eleven months earlier.
On 1 February 2021, Islington Council implemented a borough wide additional licensing scheme, and a selective licensing scheme covering all private rented properties in the Finsbury Park ward (read here).
Current selective licensing scheme to be revoked
Under the proposals, Islington Council would revoke the Finsbury Park selective licensing scheme that was implemented on 1 February 2021. The consultation does not say when this would happen, and landlords must continue to apply for licences while the current scheme remains in force.
New larger selective licensing scheme to be declared
Islington Council’s licensing proposal is further complicated by new ward boundaries being introduced by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE). These will take effect from the date of the local council elections on 5 May 2022.
Ward boundaries will be changing in Islington and the consultation document refers readers to the LGBCE website.
The council are proposing to redesignate the selective licensing scheme in the Finsbury Park, Tollington and Hillrise wards based on new ward boundaries that come into force in May 2022.
Whilst acknowledging it is too early to draw any conclusions from the pilot scheme introduced in the Finsbury Park ward, the council still think the evidence they have gathered supports designation of a new larger scheme.
In London Property Licensing’s view, the approach being adopted by Islington Council is unusual.
It is not unusual for councils to extend selective licensing into new areas. For example, Harrow Council operate three different selective licensing schemes, all with different start and end dates.
It is also not unusual for councils to operate selective licensing schemes based on old ward boundaries. For example, when Tower Hamlets Council renewed their selective licensing scheme in 2021, the scheme adopted the pre-22 May 2014 ward boundaries.
In Islington, if the selective licensing scheme is redesignated later this year, it will most likely be implemented for the maximum five-year period (2022 – 2027). Whilst existing selective licences remain in force, licences granted last year cannot last for more than five years. Selective licences granted in 2021 will expire in 2026. Finsbury Park landlords may then have to reapply for a licence and pay another fee in the final year of the new scheme.
Whether the council have considered this, and what will be done to resolve this issue remains unclear. The simplest option might be to retain the existing selective licensing scheme and restrict the new scheme to the expanded area the council wish to include.
Islington Council selective licensing consultation continues until 27 March 2022. You can find out more information and take part by visiting the council’s website.
A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing in the London Borough of Islington is available here.
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