Tower Hamlets Council consulting on plans to renew their selective licensing scheme
Tower Hamlets Council is consulting on plans to renew their selective licensing scheme that was introduced in the west of the borough in October 2016. The current scheme is due to end on 30 September 2021.
The council currently operates three property licensing schemes. In addition to the mandatory HMO licensing scheme, there is an additional licensing scheme that applies to all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) throughout the borough except for the pre 2014 wards of Weavers, Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Banglatown.
There is also a selective licensing scheme that applies to all private rented properties in pre 2014 wards of Weavers, Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Banglatown in the west of the borough.
The council say the existing scheme has achieved notable success in improving the overall management of privately rented properties in the local area, resulting in an overall improvement of property conditions and the neighbourhoods as a whole.
According to the council, 6,504 properties have been licensed and 868 inspections undertaken, representing about 13% (1 in 8) of licensed properties. Of those, 709 properties have been improved, 34 tenants helped to obtain Rent Repayment Orders and 8 prosecutions undertaken. There is no data on the number of civil financial penalties issued.
The council say that landlord licensing can provide a light touch approach for the vast majority of professional landlords whilst forcing criminal landlords out into the open. This enables the council to demand basic housing standards are met and take enforcement action against those that fail to do so, thereby having a tangible impact on poor housing conditions, anti-social behaviour and crime.
Licence fees on the rise
The proposal involves increasing selective licensing fees to £595 per property for new applications, up 10% on current rates.
For application renewals, the council are proposing a lower fee of £495, with most licences issued for five years.
These fees remain below average for London selective licensing schemes.
The consultation on plans the renew the selective licensing scheme started on 28 August and continues for 15 weeks until 13 December 2020. You can read the consultation documents and complete an online questionnaire by visiting the council’s website.
A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets is available here.
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