Licensing extended to 30,000 private rented homes in Croydon
Croydon landlords and letting agents are being warned they must get their properties licensed as the London Borough of Croydon have introduced borough-wide selective licensing from today (1 October 2015).
The selective licensing scheme, known locally as the ‘Croydon Private Rented Property Licence’ (CPRPL), extends property licensing to almost every house or flat let out to an individual, couple or single household anywhere in the borough.
The Council say they have implemented the new scheme to tackle significant and persistent problems with anti-social behaviour and to address poor property management. Before implementing the scheme, the council conducted a public consultation exercise during which 70% of private tenants and local residents said they supported the scheme whilst most landlords and letting agents who replied were opposed to the idea.
Commenting on the licensing scheme, Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and planning said:
“This licence will be a benchmark of quality private rented housing that people can trust, especially as Croydon’s huge regeneration will make it an even more attractive place to live and invest.“
Croydon Council’s selective licensing scheme had been subject to legal challenge by a group of local businesses calling themselves the Croydon Property Forum.
The Judicial Review hearing took place in the Royal Courts of Justice on 4 August 2015, although in a judgement handed down on 13 August, High Court Judge Sir Stephen Silber ruled that the Council had take reasonable steps to consult with people affected by the designation and so he rejected the legal challenge (read here).
Licence application fee
The early-bird discounted fee of £350 ended on 30 September, so landlords must now pay an application fee of £750 per property. This is highest selective licensing fee in London – 50% higher than in Barking & Dagenham, Newham & Waltham Forest.
In mid-September 2015, Croydon Council reported that around 4,400 landlords had submitted applications for over 7,000 rented properties and another 2,900 applications were underway.
Sanctions for unlicensed properties
Fail to apply for a licence and the landlord and managing agent could face the full weight of the law. Possible sanctions include:
- Prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court with the risk of an unlimited fine;
- Rent Repayment Order requiring the repayment of up to 12 months rental income;
- Any section 21 notice of seeking possession will be invalid; and
- The landlord would probably fail a fit and proper person assessment, making it very difficult to obtain another property licence in the future.
For the latest information on property licensing in Croydon, including information on how to apply, you can visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/croydon.