Waltham Forest Council want to hear your views on proposals for new property licensing schemes

Thursday, March 28th, 2019 - Waltham Forest Council

Waltham Forest Council are carrying out a 12-week consultation with residents and landlords across the borough and beyond, inviting comments on two proposed new private rented property licensing schemes.

According to the Council, the private rented sector in Waltham Forest is the fastest growing housing sector and is estimated to make up almost 40% of the borough’s housing stock.

With more and more residents relying on the private rented sector, the Council believes that private rented sector property licensing is the best way to ensure decent, flexible accommodation for them.

Some landlords rent out substandard, overcrowded and in some cases, dangerous, accommodation. The Council believe the current scheme has been effective in improving housing conditions, and protecting residents.

Since the scheme started, nearly 26,000 licences have been applied for and 1,000 visits/actions relating to anti-social behaviour associated with privately rented properties have taken place. As well as this, there have been 94 successful prosecutions resulting in more than £300,000 in court-imposed fines; and 95 Civil Penalties have been issued, with an average penalty of £7,445.

The Council has also made 21 Interim Management Orders to take over the management of unlicensed properties.

Waltham Forest Council’s current property licensing scheme ends in March 2020 and if the new schemes are introduced, they would come into effect from 1 April 2020.

The first is a proposal to introduce large scale selective licensing in 18 wards of the borough, where evidence of poor housing conditions and anti-social behaviour meets the statutory criteria for a selective licensing designation.

The Council considers that the proposed designation is the most effective way to regulate the condition, management and occupation of privately rented properties in the borough and to tackle the anti-social behaviour (ASB) associated with them.

The second is a proposal to introduce a borough-wide additional licensing scheme to regulate the management, use, occupation and condition of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). The Council considers that a significant number of HMOs in the borough are managed ineffectively and that their mismanagement is contributing to social problems such as anti-social behaviour.

To date, more than 2,000 residents, landlords and tenants have shared their views as part of the consultation.

Councillor Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council said:

It’s great that so many residents, landlords and tenants have already shared their views on the consultation but we still want to hear from more people.

There is nothing more important than the roof over your head and the current private rented property licensing scheme has dealt with a lot of issues in this sector; however, problems remain and some renters still face hazardous conditions.

With a chronic shortage of social housing and more and more people being priced out of the housing market, renting is becoming the only option for thousands of people. We want to ensure that private sector rented properties in our borough are well managed by responsible landlords and meet a good standard. We believe these proposals will help us to do that.

The consultation runs until Monday 29 April 2019. You can find out more information and take part in the consultation on the council’s website.

For more information on the property licensing requirements in Waltham Forest, you can read our free guide here. here.

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