London Borough of Enfield

The London Borough of Enfield is in North London covering an area of 32 square miles. It is bordered by the boroughs of Barnet to the west, Haringey to the south, Waltham Forest to the east and with Hertfordshire and Essex to the north. According to the 2011 Census about 22% (1 in 5) of the housing stock was privately rented which is slightly lower than the London average of 25% (1 in 4).

Do I need a licence to rent out my property?

You do not need a licence if you rent your property to a single family as Enfield Council do not operate a selective licensing scheme.

If you rent your property as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), the answer is a bit more complicated. Whilst Enfield Council do not operate an additional licensing scheme, some HMOs do need a licence under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme that applies throughout England and Wales.

You will need an HMO licence if your property:

  • Is three or more storeys high (a storey includes a basement, loft conversion and any storey comprising business premises); and
  • Contains five or more people in two or more households; and
  • Contains shared facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.  

Following a recent government announcement, the mandatory HMO licensing criteria look set to change in 2017 bringing thousands more properties within the scope of licensing. It is important to keep up to date as these changes could impact on you. You can sign up to our free newsletter for all the latest news.   

How much does a licence cost?

Enfield Council charges a standard HMO licence fee of £120 per let within a property. So the fee is £600 for a three storey shared house with five single person lettings.

The Council do not advertise any discounts for accredited landlords, which we think is a shame.

The fees we have listed were correct as of May 2017 but could be subject to change in the future. You can view the fees in full on the Council’s website

Can I apply for a licence online?

No you can’t. It’s a bit old fashioned! Instead, you can download an application form from Enfield Council’s website complete it by hand and post it back to them.

Alternatively, you can contact the Council and ask them to send you an application pack in the post.

In addition to completing the application form, Enfield Council ask you to provide various supporting information such as an electrical certificate, gas safety certificate and fire alarm / emergency lighting test certificates (if any). So make sure you’ve got all your paperwork ready.

If you need assistance with your licence application, we can help you. We offer a unique hassle-free, one-stop-shop service to handle your licence application from start to finish and all for a fixed fee. As part of the service, we carry out an inspection of your property, arrange a measured floorplan and provide expert advice on compliance. To find out more, please drop us a line and we will send you further details, or you can study the information published here.  

Are there any standards I need to comply with?

We couldn’t find any HMO standards listed on the Enfield Council’s website and so we made some further enquiries.

In February 2015, Enfield Council told us they have adopted standards for licensed HMOs and have provided us with a copy, which you can download from the ‘More Information’ box on the right of this page. We try and make life a bit easier for you!

The standards cover a range of issues such as kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities, fire precautions, heating, lighting, ventilation and room sizes.

It is important for us to point out that the government are looking to introduce new minimum bedroom sizes for HMOs – 6.52m2 for one person and 10.23m2 for two people. The local council will still be able to ask for larger minimum sizes. The standards will apply throughout England to HMOs licensed under a mandatory HMO or additional licensing scheme. If you are concerned about how this will impact on your properties, please contact us for advice. 

How many properties has the Council licensed?

As of January 2015, Enfield Council had licensed 54 HMOs under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme. By April 2016, the number had risen to 75 and in May 2017 the number had risen again to 124 although the public register says some of these applications are still being processed. 

The Council keeps a public register of licensed HMOs that is regularly updated and can be viewed online. Select ‘HMO Licence (Mandatory)’ from the drop down menu and search all, or select the name or street you are interested in. It’s quite a good system.

Are there lots of unlicensed properties still out there?

We don’t really know. In February 2015, Enfield Council told us they had no information about the number of licensable HMOs operating without a licence. 

What happens if I don't get a licence?

Ignore the law and you could pay a heavy price. You risk being prosecuted by the Council and if found guilty you could get a criminal record, be fined an unlimited amount and ordered to pay court costs and a victim surcharge.

From April 2017 the council can issue you with a civil penalty notice of up to £30,000 for not having the correct licence without any warning being given, so this is really serious stuff.  

You could also be subject to a Rent Repayment Order and may have to repay up to 12 months rental income.

Whilst the property is unlicensed, you can’t use a Notice of Seeking Possession under Section 21 Housing Act 1988 to evict your tenants. 
  
And following a successful prosecution, you would probably fail a fit and proper person assessment, making it very difficult for you to obtain a property licence in the future.

Don’t put your livelihood and reputation at risk. Make sure you comply with the law. We can help you get your property licensed! (find out more). 

Does the Council take much housing enforcement action?

Enfield Council told us they had taken no housing prosecutions over the last five years (April 2011 to March 2016), which puts them at the bottom of the league table when compared to other London Boroughs. 

Enfield Council have not obtained any Rent Repayment Orders from the landlords of unlicensed HMOs over the last five years (April 2011 to March 2016). 

How many accredited landlords are there?

Under the London Rental Standard, there are three approved landlord accreditation schemes operated by the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme, the National Landlords Association (NLA) and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

Whilst we don’t have any figures for the NLA or RLA schemes, we have got information about the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme that is supported by all the London Boroughs. In January 2016, they told us there were 543 accredited landlords in Enfield, which is slightly above average when compared to all London boroughs.

If you have not yet done so, please visit our London Rental Standard page and decide which scheme you want to join. Accredited landlords are entitled to various benefits, including discounted licensing fees in some boroughs.

Is the Council planning to introduce any new licensing schemes?

Well, the council have certainly been considering the introduction of new property licensing schemes although it’s a long story so we’ll try and keep it brief. On 9 April 2014, Enfield Council’s Cabinet made a decision to implement borough wide selective and additional licensing schemes (read here). The schemes were due to come into force on 1 April 2015 and last for five years.

A local landlord, Mr Constantinos Regas, took the Council to Judicial Review to try and get the licensing schemes overturned. Enfield Council’s Cabinet met to discuss the matter again on 12 November 2014 (read here). They further ratified their decision to implement a borough wide additional HMO licensing scheme.

The Judicial Review was heard in the High Court on 26 November 2014. On 11 December 2014, His Honour Judge McKenna handed down the judgement (read here). In summary, it was held that the Enfield additional and selective licensing schemes were not lawfully designated and so both licensing schemes were cancelled. The reason was linked to the consultation arrangements. 

Whilst the High Court refused permission for Enfield Council to appeal the decision, the council petitioned the Court of Appeal direct as they wanted to challenge the judgement. On 9 July 2015, the Council announced that they had been granted permission to appeal, but had decided not to do so. As a result, the Judicial Review decision stands and both licensing schemes have been cancelled.

So what happens next? Well, Enfield Council’s Cabinet member, Cllr Oykener, has asked officers to prepare a further report on how best to improve the quality of the private rented sector in Enfield.

In October 2016, the council told us they were currently re-evaluating the evidence for additional and selective licensing in the borough, so there may be further announcements soon.

There is clearly a lot going on at Enfield Council so we will monitor the situation closely. To keep up to date will all the latest news, you can sign up to our free newsletter.

Do I need planning permission for my HMO?

You will need planning permission if you are changing your property from a single-family property to a house in multiple occupation (HMO) occupied by more than six people. HMOs occupied by more than six people fall within ‘sui-generis’ use for which planning permission is required. You also need planning permission if you a splitting up a property into smaller self-contained units of accommodation. 

For smaller HMOs, the rules are more complicated. HMOs occupied by up to six people fall into planning use class C4 whereas single-family properties fall into planning use class C3.

On 22 October 2012, Enfield Council made a borough-wide Article 4 Direction that removes the permitted development rights to change a property from use class C3 to use class C4 without planning permission. The HMO Article 4 Direction came into force on 22 October 2013 and you can download a copy from the ‘More Information’ box on the right of this page.

The effect of the Article 4 Direction is to require planning permission to change the use from a single-family property (C3) to an HMO with up to six occupants (class C4). So even letting your property to three people who are not all related could require planning permission.

We have prepared some general advice on HMO Article 4 Directions that you may find useful, available here

Remember that this is only intended as general advice and no liability can be accepted for any reliance upon information provided. We would strongly encourage you to contact the Council’s Planning Department or seek independent legal advice. 

Can you help me find the goods and services I need?

We certainly can. We understand the challenges of being a private landlord and so we have developed a Landlord Suppliers Directory to provide you with access to the goods and services you need. The Directory concentrates on businesses that operate in the London area.

Whether you a looking for a letting agent, want a property inventory for a new tenancy, need a legionella or fire risk assessment, or are seeking a Gas Safe registered contractor to service the boiler, we’ve got it covered – and far more besides!

New suppliers are regularly being added and we would encourage you to take a look. Some of our featured listings also contain YouTube videos, helping you to find out more about the business. 

How do I find out more?

To find out more, you can contact the Council at: 

HMO Licensing
Private Sector Housing Standards Team

Enfield Council
PO Box 57

Civic Centre

Enfield EN1 3XH



Email: hmolicensing@enfield.gov.uk
Tel:     020 8379 1000
Website: www.enfield.gov.uk

Enfield News

Enfield Events

Enfield Comment

At a Glance

Licence Overview

No additional or selective licensing in Enfield but the mandatory HMO licensing scheme applies borough wide. 

Contacting the Council

Tel: 020 8379 1000
Email: hmolicensing@enfield.gov.uk
Weblink: Enfield HMO licensing

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