Southwark Council consulting on plans for new additional and selective licensing schemes

Friday, March 19th, 2021 - Southwark Council

Southwark additional and selective licensing consultation 2021

Southwark Council has launched a public consultation on plans to implement new additional and selective landlord licensing schemes.

The previous licensing schemes were introduced on 1 January 2016 and operated for five years. Both schemes ended on 31 December 2020 (read here).

According to Southwark Council, the new licensing schemes will improve safety, security and quality for people living in private rented homes. With a third of the people living in Southwark now in private rented accommodation, the council wants to hear from as many residents, landlords and business owners as possible, to develop the best new scheme for everyone.

The council’s ambition is to transform private rented homes so that all residents have access to safe, secure and good quality accommodation. Many of those renting privately in Southwark live in areas where people are on lower incomes – bad quality rented homes can make things harder. The council is inviting Southwark residents to feed into its new private rented consultation and help to instigate necessary change.

The council has taken significant action to tackle poor standards since the previous schemes started in 2016. Whilst the previous additional House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing scheme covered the whole borough, the selective licensing scheme for all other private rented accommodation was restricted to a few key trunk roads and high streets. Southwark is keen to continue the good work that was achieved and to expand the area of the selective scheme so that more tenants can be helped.

Proposed additional licensing scheme

A proposed new five-year licensing scheme would apply to all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) that are not already licensable under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme. It would include smaller rental properties occupied by three or more unrelated people, forming two or more households who share amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom. The scheme would also include certain converted blocks of flats known as section 257 HMOs.

Proposed selective licensing scheme

A proposed new five-year licensing scheme would comprise four separate designations that could be implemented in two phases. This scheme would apply to all private rented properties not already licensable under the mandatory HMO or additional licensing schemes.

Phase 1 would comprise two designations covering less than 20% of the borough, in Newington, Champion Hill, Faraday, Goose Green and St Giles council wards.

If successful, Southwark Council would then seek government approval to implement phase 2 covering North Walworth, Nunhead & Queens Road, Old Kent Road, Peckham, Camberwell Green, Chaucer, Dulwich Hill, Dulwich Wood, London Bridge and West, Bermondsey, Peckham Rye, Rotherhithe, Rye Lane, South Bermondsey and Surrey Docks council wards.

Cllr Kieron Williams, Southwark Council leader said:

We want to ensure everyone who is renting privately in Southwark has a decent home, with good standards of security, safety and quality. Having invested significantly in landlord licensing over the past few years we are now looking to take this further with proposals for new property licensing schemes covering over 90% of the borough’s private rented homes.

If you are renting in Southwark, I encourage you to visit the consultation and see what we’re doing to help and to let us know how we can better support you. Landlords are encouraged to take part and find out how we are working to support good landlords. All residents and business owners are encouraged to take part and provide feedback on our proposals – all views are important and can make a real difference to how we work to transform private renting in Southwark.

Southwark Council is consulting about two new licensing schemes which, if they were introduced, would come into effect in two phases, the first from January 2022, followed by a larger area planned for later in 2022.

The consultation runs until Monday 28 June 2021 and everyone can share their views by visiting the council’s website.

Email enquiries about the consultation and paper copy requests can be emailed to: Paper copies can also be requested by telephoning and leaving a message at 020 7525 5140.

A free guide explaining the property licensing and HMO planning restrictions in the London Borough of Southwark is available here.

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