Waltham Forest Council announce crackdown on unlicensed landlords
With a borough-wide selective licensing scheme in force since 1 April 2015, Waltham Forest Council is now turning greater attention to enforcement action, with a series of operations to crackdown on rogue landlords planned throughout the coming year.
According to the Council, they have been working hard to help landlords understand the need to get a licence and comply with the licence conditions. The selective licensing scheme, known locally as a Private Rented Property Licence Area, requires all privately rented homes in the borough to be licenced, with a separate licence required for each and every property.
“We have worked hard to get the message out to landlords that they need to obtain licences for their properties,” explained Councillor Khevyn Limbajee, Cabinet Member for Housing.
“We even offered a half price Early Bird discount for a five year licence to those landlords that signed up before the middle of June and what we’ve found is that the vast majority have been quite willing to work with us and sign up their properties.
“With the discount, the cost worked out at less than a pound a week, so financially the scheme really doesn’t make a difference to their business. So far we have issued 15,000 licences and are processing a further 2,000 applications, which shows that decent, responsible landlords understand the need to sign up.“
The Council say that rogue landlords who either refuse to apply for a licence or have no intention of meeting the conditions required to ensure their tenants are housed in appropriate conditions, will be targeted as part of a campaign of enforcement.
According to figures previously obtained by London Property Licensing (March 2015), Waltham Forest Council estimated there would be around 26,000 properties covered by selective licensing. This suggests there could still be about 9,000 properties where the landlord has so far failed to apply for a licence.
The council say that landlords found without a licence will be subject to enforcement action that could result in a prosecution and an unlimited fine. Once in possession of a licence, landlords that do not comply with the licence conditions could also be prosecuted.
If you are the landlord of a private rented property in the borough and have not yet got a licence, then you have been warned – the Council say that their Private Rented Property Licensing team officers may be knocking on your door soon.
To apply for your licence go to www.walthamforest.gov.uk/prpl. As well as a link to the forms, there is also detail of the ‘required information’ and other details available.
Information about property licensing in Waltham Forest is also available on the London Property Licensing website at www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/waltham-forest.