London Borough of Redbridge

If you need help understanding the property licensing rules in Redbridge you have come to the right place! We are experts in housing regulation and have produced this free guide to help you understand the council’s property licensing schemes.

If you find that you need a licence for your rented property our support doesn’t end there. Our Landlord Suppliers Directory (view here) lists companies that offer a licence application handling service. You can also find companies offering a wide range of other goods and services to help you manage your property portfolio and achieve compliance.

Licensing Requirements

Do I need a licence to rent out my property?

There are currently three licensing schemes operating in Redbridge and a fourth scheme starting on 8 April 2024. We will help you choose the right licence for your property.

1. Mandatory HMO licence

You will need a mandatory HMO licence if your property meets the standard test, self-contained flat test or converted building test HMO definition in section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 and is occupied by five or more people.

But what are these tests and what does this mean in practice? It means you need a licence for any house or flat that is occupied by five or more people who are not all related and live in the property as their main home. For example, it includes:

  • Shared houses and flats occupied by students and young professionals;
  • Properties converted into bedsits with some shared facilities; and
  • Properties converted into a mixture of self-contained and non self-contained accommodation.  

Prior to 1 October 2018, the mandatory HMO licensing scheme only applied to properties that were three or more storeys in height, but that restriction has now been lifted.

The government have decided to exclude purpose built self-contained flats within a block comprising three or more self-contained flats from the mandatory HMO licensing scheme. While this will be good news for some landlords, it does make the licensing scheme far more complicated.

To find out more, you can read our free guide to mandatory HMO licensing (here).

 2. Additional licence

In Redbridge, you need an additional licence if your property is let as a House in Multiple Occupation that falls outside the remit of mandatory HMO licensing. 

The additional licensing scheme came into force on 18 September 2023 and continues for five years. You can view the public notice in the ‘At a Glance’ box on the top right of this page.

The House in Multiple Occupation definition is not straightforward and you need to study it carefully. For example, Redbridge Council have included ‘section 257 HMOs’ within the additional licensing scheme. These are properties that:

  • have been converted into self-contained flats; and
  • less than two thirds of the flats are owner occupied; and
  • the conversion did not comply with the relevant Building Regulations in force at that time and still does not comply.

The council only include section 257 HMOs where all units of accommodation are privately rented and the building and all the units it contains are in the same ownership or control or considered by the housing authority to be effectively under the same ownership or control.

To find out more, you can read our free guide to additional licensing (here). 

3. Selective Licence

In Redbridge, a selective licensing scheme covering the council wards of Valentines and Ilford Town came into force on 1 November 2023 and will continue for five years. 

A second selective licensing scheme covering the fifteen council wards of Aldborough, Barkingside, Chadwell, Churchfields, Clementswood, Cranbrook, Fairlop, Goodmayes, Hainault, Loxford, Mayfield, Newbury, Seven Kings, South Woodford and Wanstead Village will come into force on 8 April 2024. 

You can view the public notices in the ”At a Glance’ box on the top right of this page.

Within these areas, a licence is required if your property (house or flat) is let out to a single household or two unrelated sharers in these two wards.

Redbridge Council have interactive maps to check if you property is within the two selective licensing areas (here) and (here).

To find out more, you can read our free guide to selective licensing (here).

How much does a licence cost?

Different fees apply depending on the type of licence you are applying for. 

Mandatory HMO licence

In Redbridge the standard fee is £1,884 for a shared house with five single person lettings. Costs vary if there are more or less than five households living there. 

Unfortunately, we understand the 10% discount for accredited landlords and the lower fees for licence renewals ended in 2019.

Additional licence

In Redbridge, there is a variable fee depending on the number of households. A shared house occupied by three unrelated people costs £1,698 whereas a shared house occupied by four unrelated people costs £1,800. 

There is a small £35 discount for accredited landlords, equivalent to about 2%.

Selective licence

In Redbridge, the standard fee is £860 for each property.

There is a small £35 discount for accredited landlords, equivalent to about 4%. 

You can view the latest fees on the council’s website, with mandatory HMO fees here, additional licensing fees here and selective licensing fees here.

The fees we have listed were correct as of February 2024 but could be subject to change in the future.

How do I apply for a licence?

There is an online licence application process and you can find out more information on the council’s website.

We offer a licence application handling service in Redbridge­ and you can find further information here. Simply complete the online enquiry form to get the process underway.  

You can find other companies offering a licence application handling service in our Landlord Suppliers Directory (here).

It is important to remember that submitting a licence application is only the start of the licence approval process. To help landlords understand what happens next, we have published a free guide here.

Are there any standards I need to comply with?

Yes, Redbridge Council have published HMO standards that can be viewed on the council’s website

The standards cover a range of issues such as kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities, fire precautions, heating, lighting, ventilation and room sizes.

It is important to note that new absolute minimum bedroom sizes for licensed HMOs have been introduced for HMO licence applications approved on or after 1 October 2018:

  • 4.64m2 for a child under 10 years old
  • 6.51m2 for one person over 10 years old
  • 10.22m2 for two people over 10 years old

The council can still ask for larger minimum sizes. These new minimum sizes will apply throughout England to HMOs licensed under a mandatory HMO or additional licensing scheme.

How many properties has the Council licensed?

In December 2021, the council told us they had approved 729 mandatory HMO licences, 436 additional licences and 17,609 selective licences. A further 533 applications were being processed.

The council keeps a public register of licensed properties that is regularly updated and can be searched using a postcode search facility on the council’s website.

Are there lots of unlicensed properties still out there?

The council originally estimated there were between 6,000 and 10,000 Houses in Multiple Occupation that needed licensing plus a further 20,000 private rented homes in the two selective licensing areas. However, when we checked in May 2019, the estimates had reduced to 5,000 HMOs and 19,000 other private rented homes that need licensing. 

By 2021, the estimate had been further reduced to 1,703 HMOs, of which 761 fall within the remit of additional licensing.

This does indicate there are still properties operating in the borough without the required licence. If you are one of those landlords, it is important that you act now to avoid the consequences of non-compliance.

What happens if I don’t get a licence?

Ignore the law and you could pay a heavy price. You risk being prosecuted by the Council and if found guilty you could get a criminal record, be fined an unlimited amount and ordered to pay court costs and a victim surcharge. 

Alternatively, the council can issue you with a civil penalty notice of up to £30,000 for not having the correct licence without any warning being given, so this is really serious stuff.  

You could also be subject to a Rent Repayment Order and may have to repay up to 12 months rental income.

Whilst the property is unlicensed, you can’t use a Notice of Seeking Possession under Section 21 Housing Act 1988 to evict your tenants. 
  
And following a successful prosecution, you would probably fail a fit and proper person assessment, making it very difficult for you to obtain a property licence in the future.

Don’t put your livelihood and reputation at risk. Make sure you comply with the law.

Does the Council take much housing enforcement action?

In London, most boroughs publish information about housing prosecutions and civil financial penalties on the Mayor of London’s ‘Rogue landlord and agent checker’. You can search the database by entering a property address, landlord / agent name or by selecting the relevant borough, available here.

How many accredited landlords are there?

There are landlord accreditation schemes operated by the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) and other organisations.  

Whilst we don’t have any figures for the NRLA scheme, we have got information about the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme that is supported by all the London Boroughs. In January 2016, they told us there were 575 accredited landlords in Redbridge, which was above average when compared to all the London boroughs.

January 2018: 881 accredited landlords
January 2019: 998 accredited landlords
January 2020: 1,268 accredited landlords
January 2021: 1,483 accredited landlords
January 2022: 1,701 accredited landlords
January 2023: 2,321 accredited landlords

By January 2024 there were 3,124 accredited landlords, which is the highest when compared to all the London boroughs. To find out more about becoming accredited, you can visit the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme website here

In addition to training and development, accredited landlords are entitled to various benefits, including discounted licensing fees in some boroughs. If you are not already a member, we would encourage you to think about joining!

Is the Council planning to introduce any new licensing schemes?

Redbridge Council consulted on plans for a new selective licensing scheme from 1 November 2022 to 31 January 2023. A new selective licensing scheme covering the council wards of Valentines and Ilford Town was designated on 26 June 2023 and came into force on 1 November 2023. 

Meanwhile, the council applied to the Secretary of State for approval to implement a larger selective licensing scheme. On 20 December 2023, the council received approval to designate a new selective property licensing scheme in 15 wards of the borough: Aldborough, Barkingside, Chadwell, Churchfields, Clementswood, Cranbrook, Fairlop, Goodmayes, Hainault, Loxford, Mayfield, Newbury, Seven Kings, South Woodford and Wanstead Village. The new scheme comes into force on 8 April 2024.

There’s clearly a lot going on at Redbridge so we will monitor the situation closely and keep you posted. For all the latest developments, you can sign-up to our free newsletter.

Do I need planning permission for my HMO?

You will need planning permission if you are changing your property from a single-family property to a house in multiple occupation (HMO) occupied by more than six people. HMOs occupied by more than six people fall within ‘sui-generis’ use for which planning permission is required. You also need planning permission if you a splitting up a property into smaller self-contained units of accommodation. 

For smaller HMOs, the rules are a bit more complicated. HMOs occupied by between three and six people fall into planning use class C4 whereas single-family properties fall into planning use class C3.

On 3 December 2018, Redbridge Council made a non-immediate borough wide HMO Article 4 Direction. You can find a copy in the ‘More Information’ box on the top right of this page.

The Direction was approved at a Cabinet meeting on 23 April 2019 and came into force on 6 December 2019. This means that planning permission is required to change any property from a single-family home (C3) to an HMO with up to six occupants (class C4). So even letting your property to three people who are not all related could require planning permission.

The changes are not retrospective and so properties converted from use class C3 to C4 under permitted development rules before 6 December 2019 are not affected.

More information is available on the council’s website.

Remember that this is only intended as general advice and no liability can be accepted for any reliance upon information provided. We would strongly encourage you to contact the Council’s Planning Department or seek independent legal advice before you start a new HMO development.

Can you help me find the goods and services I need?

We certainly can. We understand the challenges of being a private landlord and so we have developed a Landlord Suppliers Directory to provide you with access to the goods and services you need. The Directory concentrates on businesses that operate in the London area.

Whether you a looking for a letting agent, want a property inventory for a new tenancy or fire risk assessment, we have got it covered – and far more besides!

As the leading experts in property licensing, we also offer a range of services ourselves. From handling the licence application process to advice on new HMO developments, we can help to ensure your property business remains compliant. If you need assistance, please drop us a line and see if we can help! 

New suppliers are regularly being added and we would encourage you to take a look. Some of our featured listings also contain YouTube videos, helping you to find out more about the business.

How do I find out more?

You can contact the council at: 

Property Licensing Team
Redbridge Council
Lynton House
255-259 High Road
Ilford IG1 1NY

Email: PRSLicensing@redbridge.gov.uk
Tel: 020 8708 4845
Website: www.redbridge.gov.uk

Latest News

Consultations

There are currently no licensing consultations we are aware of in the London Borough of Redbridge

Schemes

Events

Opinion

At a Glance

Licence Overview

In Redbridge, mandatory HMO and additional licensing schemes apply borough wide and selective licensing applies to part of the borough. A new selective licensing scheme starts on 8 April 2024.

Contacting the Council

Tel: 020 8708 4845
Email: prslicensing@redbridge.gov.uk
Weblink: Redbridge property licensing