News

Camden additional licensing scheme expected to cover 8,000 HMOs

Sunday, May 31, 2015

In a report tabled for Thursday 4 June 2015, Camden Council is proposing to implement a borough wide additional licensing scheme covering all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) - an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 properties. 

The scheme would see property licensing extended to all private rented accommodation in Camden shared by three of more people who are not all related.

The licensing scheme would also include certain ‘Section 257 HMOs’. These are properties that have been converted into self-contained flats but do not comply with the relevant building regulations. Camden intends to restrict the licensing of Section 257 HMOs to properties where at least 50% of the flats are privately rented.

As part of the evidence gathering process, Camden Environmental Health Officers visited 391 HMOs and rated 19% as poor or very poor for property management and condition. They also visited 28 HMOs above shops where they found four HMOs with poor or very poor conditions.

The Council say they undertook a 22-week consultation exercise and received 1,400 responses to their online survey: 70% of respondents were in favour of the licensing scheme. But the figures also show just 171 landlords took part in the survey and 71% of landlords who took part were opposed.

Camden Council, who also host the London-wide Landlord Accreditation Scheme, have said that despite having 700 accredited landlords in the borough, accreditation does nothing for poor standards in properties run by landlords who are not members.

Additional licensing fees

Camden Council has said that the additional licence fee would be split into two stages:

  • An initial application fee of £300 per property plus an extra £30 for each bedroom to cover the cost of handling the licence application and inspections; and
  • If an application is successful, a further fee of £150 per property plus an extra £15 per bedroom to cover the cost of running and enforcing the scheme.

So that would be £675 for a five-bedroom two storey HMO.

Accredited landlords would receive a £95 fee discount although there is no indication of any other discount to encourage early applications. The scheme is expected to raise between £2.5 million (5,000 licences) and £4 million (8,000 licences) which the Council say they would reinvest in operating the licensing scheme.

New minimum HMO standards

The report is also proposing new HMO standards that would apply to all licensed HMOs, together with a set of 23 conditions to be attached to each licence.

If the Cabinet Member for Housing and the Deputy Leader approve the report, the additional licensing scheme will come into force on 8 December 2015 and last for five years.

HMO landlords who fail to obtain a licence by that date could be prosecuted by the Council and upon convicted, could be subject to an unlimited fine and a range of other sanctions.

Further information on property licensing in Camden can be found at www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/camden.

The full additional licensing report and Appendices can be downloaded from Camden Council’s website.

Advertise your business here Sign up to our London Property Licensing newsletter