Islington Council’s additional landlord licensing scheme has ended after five years

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 -

An additional licensing scheme implemented by the London Borough of Islington in 2015 has ended after five years.

The additional licensing scheme applied to all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Caledonian Road and Holloway Road and came into force on 1 September 2015. These licensing schemes cannot last for more than five years and so the scheme ended on 31 August 2020.

In May 2019, research undertaken by London Property Licensing for safeagent revealed that 243 properties had been licensed under the additional licensing scheme and a further 23 applications were being processed (read here). According to the council, they had expected to license 542 properties under the five year scheme. It is not known how many properties had been licensed by the time the scheme ended.

At the time of going to press, the additional licensing scheme was still being promoted on the council’s website with no mention that the scheme had ended.

Whilst some landlords and letting agents may see the ending of the scheme as good news, any reprieve from HMO licensing is likely to be short lived.

From 5 August to 3 November 2019, the council consulted on proposals to implement new additional and selective licensing schemes (read here).

Borough wide additional licensing scheme

On 19 March 2020, the council’s executive approved plans for a borough wide additional licensing scheme that will apply to all house and flat shares occupied by three or more people who are not all related.

So-called section 257 HMOs (certain buildings converted into self-contained flats) will be included in the additional licensing scheme, but only if all the flats are privately rented and in single ownership.

The council expect to approve 3,500 additional licences generating about £3 million fee income that will be reinvested in running the scheme.

Selective licensing in Finsbury Park Ward

On 19 March 2020, the council’s executive also approved plans for a selective licensing scheme in the Finsbury Park ward. This will extend licensing to all privately rented properties in this ward, including homes occupied by single people, couples, single households or two unrelated people sharing.

The council expect to approve 2,000 selective licences generating about £1 million fee income that will be reinvested in running the scheme.

Scheme implementation delayed by COVID19 pandemic

In response to the COVID19 pandemic, in March 2020 safeagent in conjunction with London Property Licensing called on councils to delay new licensing schemes for six months (read here). The government also advised councils to pause new schemes at an appropriate point (read here).

As a result, Islington Council made a pragmatic decision to place both schemes on hold for six months.

A spokesperson for the council recently told London Property Licensing that the scheme designation has not yet been made and the precise timing is still to be confirmed. Given the requirement for three months notice before a new scheme is implemented, this is unlikely to happen before early 2021.

We will continue to monitor the situation and share a further update in due course.

A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing in the London Borough of Islington is available here.

For all the latest news and events, you can sign up for the free London Property Licensing newsletter here.