By Bea Patel, Director of Shop for an agent – The Estate Agent Comparison Site
It’s not too late to have your say on Redbridge Council’s proposed Private Rented Property Licensing Scheme
Redbridge Council is making proposals for a Private Rented Property Licensing Scheme across the borough. In its consultation phase, its aim is to design a scheme that works with both the council and landlords, and to consult with as many local landlords, tenants, managing agents, residents, business and other members of the community to get their input on its proposal.
Redbridge is the 11th largest London borough, and its population has grown over the past 10 years over the average rate at 16.9 per cent. It is expected, by 2021, to be the sixth highest area of growth. With the increase in population, the borough has seen a significant growth in the private rented sector. And with this it has seen a rise in anti-social behaviour and environmental crime.
The council deals with 900 incidents a month with 600 of these relating to fly tipping, rubbish and environmental crimes – a number of these problems relate directly to private rented properties. With increasing concerns from residents, requests have been made for action to be taken against crime, environmental nuisance and anti-social behaviour.
Which licensing is being proposed?
A “Selective” and “Additional” licensing scheme.
What does the proposal apply to?
The proposal applies to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) which would be subject to an “Additional” licensing scheme. HMOs is a house, building or part of a building that is used for living accommodation by more than two people who share basic amenities, and are not family. The scheme would apply to HMOs that are not already covered by the mandatory HMO scheme, and its objective is to improve management standards and the condition of relevant HMOs.
All other private rented properties would come under the “Selective” licensing scheme, where landlords would have to apply for a license, and comply with conditions imposed to make sure they manage the property well.
How could the licensing help?
Approximately one in four households live in private rented properties in the borough. Proposed licensing aims to improve the standard of living, by providing tenants with the same living conditions as other households, and to support local residents and businesses who live close by to poorly managed private rented properties. It will also help to maintain a landlord’s register, making it easier to notify landlords and letting agents of their responsibilities, improve their reputation, provide support, reduce anti-social behaviour and fly tipping, and build an area that would be safer and more appealing to live in.
What else do you need to know?
You will need to obtain a license for each property you own. The license is for five years and costs £500 per property. If you apply within three months, your fee will be reduced to £250 per property. For any landlords that don’t apply, they will be charged £500 for a one year license. And if you fail to apply, you could face a £20,000 fine.
Has the proposal been accepted?
The proposal is in its consultation phase lasting a total of 12 weeks. You still have until the 25 February to complete the survey with your input. After the closing date, a report will be produced and published in mid-April 2015 and be given to a Cabinet meeting for elected members to make their decision.
Click here to find out more about the scheme, its aims, a summary and full report of evidence, and to complete the survey.
Want to buy or rent a property in Redbridge? Click here