Lewisham Council look set to consult on additional licensing scheme
A report setting out proposals for additional licensing in Lewisham is to be discussed at the Council’s Mayor and Cabinet meeting on 15 July 2015 (see meeting agenda).
According to the report, the additional licensing scheme would be restricted to flats above commercial premises where council officers have found the very worst housing conditions. It is unclear if the proposal includes Section 257 HMOs or just flats and maisonettes in multiple-occupation.
The council think that the scheme would involve licensing about 1,800 properties containing 4,200 lettings.
Interestingly, the council accept that there is no evidence of a link between the poorest private rented accommodation and anti-social behaviour so they have no plans to license all private rented homes.
If the report is approved on 15 July 2015, council officers will carry out a public consultation exercise for at least ten weeks so that landlords, tenants, residents and local businesses have the opportunity to make their views known.
Commenting on the proposal, Richard Tacagni, Managing Director of London Property Licensing said:
“Whilst it is good to see Lewisham Council taking a more targeted approach to licensing, the timing is unexpected given the government’s intention to consult on widening the existing mandatory HMO licensing criteria in the near future.
“There is also a need for more clarity about exactly which properties would fall within the remit of the scheme and the fees to be charged. We look forward to receiving more detailed information when the consultation process starts“.
In April 2015, Lewisham Council told London Property Licensing that they had licensed 183 Houses in Multiple Occupation under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme, although they thought there could be up to 700 properties that needed a licence under the existing scheme.
Between April 2011 and March 2014, Lewisham Council told London Property Licensing that they had taken five housing prosecutions against rogue landlords operating in the borough.
Further information about property licensing in Lewisham can be found at www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/lewisham.