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Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea consulting on plans for new landlord licensing scheme

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea landlord licensing consultation 2021

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea has launched a public consultation on plans to implement an additional landlord licensing scheme.

Since 2006, the council has only operated the mandatory HMO licensing scheme which is restricted to most Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) occupied by five or more people. According to the council, there are only about 185 properties that fall within the remit of the national licensing scheme. This limits the benefits that licensing can bring.

The proposed new licensing scheme would extend borough wide, covering all HMOs occupied by three or more people. This would include house and flat shares, bedsit accommodation and some buildings converted into flats.

The council estimate there are 8,244 HMOs in Kensington Chelsea and 44% of the borough’s housing stock is privately rented. Council research shows there are approximately 2,400 privately rented properties that have the most serious hazards, whilst many are poorly managed and are associated with anti-social behaviour.

The council believe the new licensing scheme will provide an extra layer of protection for tenants, by helping to identify licensed and responsible landlords. These proposals are part of the council’s commitment to drive up safety standards for properties in the borough.

Proposed licence application fees

The council are proposing to charge a flat rate fee of £1,090 for most additional HMO licence applications. There would be a higher fee of £1,310 for so-called ‘section 257 HMOs’ (certain buildings converted into flats). 

The fee would be payable in two instalments and the council is proposing to offer a £200 discount to members of the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme and other equivalent professionally recognised schemes.

The council have said most licences will be granted for five years from the date of approval. A shorter licence might be issued if there is a history of non-compliance, concerns about the suitability of the landlord or agent, or other concerns.

Director of Streets and Technical Services at Kensington & Chelsea, Mahmood Siddiqi, said:

"Everyone deserves a safe place to live and most landlords in our borough are fair and responsible. This proposed licensing scheme would boost housing standards and give us more information so we can enforce against the few landlords who persistently provide poorly managed housing to their tenants.

It could be good news for tenants and good news for compliant landlords, who would be able to operate in a fairer market. We need to consult before we make any decisions, so share your views in our consultation until June.

The council say that the proposals have been designed as a ‘light touch’ scheme for landlords to reduce paperwork such as the licence application and make compliance as simple as possible.

The council is asking for views from all interested parties, including landlords, letting and managing agents, tenants and residents. The consultation runs until Monday 20 June 2021 and everyone can share their views by visiting the council's website.

A free guide explaining the property licensing and HMO planning restrictions in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is available here.

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