Lewisham additional landlord licensing scheme starts 23 September 2016
Lewisham Council have announced that their new additional landlord licensing scheme will come into force on 23 September 2016.
Landlords are being encouraged to submit their applications early to avoid missing out on early-bird discounted application fees that are available until the scheme starts.
The new additional landlord licensing scheme was approved by Lewisham Council’s Mayor and Cabinet meeting on 2 March 2016. The scheme applies borough wide and covers all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) located above commercial premises. This is where council officers say they have found the worst conditions in the private rented sector.
According to the Council, the private rented sector in Lewisham has doubled in size since 2001 and now consists of more than 30,000 units of accommodation, housing 25% of borough residents. Lewisham Council estimate that the scheme will require licensing of around 1,800 properties containing approximately 4,200 separate lettings.
Lewisham Council say that the licensing scheme will ensure that landlords manage their properties well and will help to improve the health and wellbeing of tenants. They also think the scheme will enable them to work better with landlords to ensure their homes are safe and properly managed and will contribute to sustaining the quality of the private rented sector in Lewisham.
Licensing Public Consultation
Lewisham Council consulted on the proposals for 12 weeks from 1 September to 24 November 2015 and sent out thousands of letters and emails encouraging people to take part.
Forty people attended a public consultation meeting and 136 on-line responses were received, combined with detailed responses from the National Landlords Association, Residential Landlords Association and Citizens Advice.
The council concluded that overall opinion was strongly in favour of an expanded licensing scheme and there was agreement that HMOs above commercial premises should be targeted.
Substantial rise in licence application fees
Following scheme approval, significant concern was raised about a proposed 278% increase in licence application fees. The council has set a fee of £500 “per let unit” for both the existing mandatory HMO licensing scheme and the new additional licensing scheme. Licences normally last for five years.
We understand that this is the fee per letting within a property. i.e. a single person occupying one room on a separate tenancy. The council have said that the fee will be capped at £5,000 per property for 10 or more lettings.
Lewisham Council are offering various fee discounts including a reduction of up to £50 per letting for applications submitted by 23 September, a reduction of up to £100 per letting for accredited landlords and a reduction of up to £250 per letting for registered charities.