Lambeth Council’s additional licensing scheme comes into force on 9 December 2021
A borough wide additional licensing scheme covering all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Lambeth comes into force on 9 December 2021.
The council estimate the scheme will cover around 5,000 HMOs, including house and flat shares, bedsits, and some buildings converted into flats. Smaller house and flat shares will now require a licence if they are occupied by three or more people forming more than one household.
A consultation on the proposed additional licensing scheme took place from 18 December 2020 to 12 March 2021 (read here).
The consultation generated 417 responses of which two thirds of residents supported the proposal and 81% of landlords and agents were opposed.
According to the council’s website, the decision to implement the borough wide additional licensing scheme was made by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness last month.
Licensing fees set to increase
According to the council report, the additional licensing scheme is expected to generate £10 million income over the next five years, all of which will be reinvested in running the scheme.
Under the current licensing scheme, the council charges an application fee of £289 per bedroom, equating to £1,156 for a four bedroom HMO.
According to the council report, the new licensing scheme will see costs increase to £506 per bedroom, equating to £2,024 for a four bedroom HMO. This is a substantial 75% fee increase and would become the highest ‘per bedroom’ HMO licensing fee in London.
There will be a 20% discount for accredited landlords and a 50% discount for registered charities.
A recent council email to landlords advised that the standard fee has been lowered as a result of the consultation and a reduced fee of £116 per bedroom could apply if all discounts are applied. At time of publication, this information had not been updated on the council’s website, so we await any further announcements.
Start to prepare applications now
To ensure compliance, London Property Licensing is encouraging landlords and agents to ensure their applications are submitted 9 December 2021. Operating an HMO without a licence and failing to comply with licensing conditions can lead to a civil penalty of up to £30,000 per offence, or prosecution in the Magistrates Court. Tenants can also reclaim their rent during the period the property was in breach of the licensing scheme.
A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing and HMO planning rules in the London Borough of Lambeth is available here.
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