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Tower Hamlets Council are consulting on plans for an additional landlord licensing scheme

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - Tower Hamlets Council

Tower Hamlets Council have launched a consultation to see if there is public support for an additional landlord licensing scheme. They want to give tenants in multi-let private rented properties greater clarity and security about their rights and what they can expect when renting from a private landlord.

The licensing scheme would be aimed at Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs), which are defined as any property (including flats) let to three or more people from two or more different households who share an amenity such as a kitchen or bathroom. 

HMOs can also include buildings not entirely converted into self-contained flats or those converted into self-contained flats that are not predominantly owner-occupied or do not meet specific building regulation requirements.

According to the council, there could be up to 9,000 HMOs in the borough that would need to be licensed.

The council say that residents of HMOs are more likely to experience issues which impact upon quality of life and health and safety, such as inadequate fire protection, insufficient kitchen and/or bathroom amenities and undersized bedrooms.

Tower Hamlets already plays an active role in protecting private-sector residents in HMOs, with two licensing schemes currently operating that regulate housing conditions and standards. There is the mandatory HMO licensing scheme that applies borough-wide and a selective licensing scheme that applies to all private rented properties in three council wards in the west of the borough.

The proposed additional scheme would place a legal responsibility on more HMO landlords to apply for a licence so the council can take a more proactive approach to tackling unsafe accommodation. It would apply borough wide, except for the area already covered by the selective licensing scheme.
 
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:

Tackling the housing crisis is one of my priorities. Driving up standards in the private rented sector is a key part of our strategy to ensure residents have a decent place to live. We have many good landlords operating in Tower Hamlets, but there are others who do not maintain their properties, leaving tenants at risk which is simply unacceptable. We have already launched our Private Rented Charter, but now want to extend our licensing to protect residents in Houses of Multiple Occupancy”.

Councillor Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing added:

The council is already doing much to ensure that residents live in properties that are fit for purpose. Sadly, some landlords let-out properties that are overcrowded, unclean or unsafe. It’s unacceptable for people to be living in places that are cramped and overcrowded, or where there are fire-risks and poor or inadequate amenities. This new license will allow the council to act more decisively against those who put tenants at risk, while working with good landlords and ensuring that the greatest number of multiple occupancy accommodation is licensed and fit for habitation.

Three further drop-in sessions are also being held where member of the public, tenants and landlords can find out more about the consultation. All sessions will take place between 6.30 and 8.30pm on the following dates:

  • 28 March at Idea Store, Canary Wharf  (Churchill Place E14 5RB – at the foot of the Barclays Tower)
  • 12 April at Idea Store Bow (1 Gladstone Place, Roman Road E3 5ES)
  • 23 April at Mulberry Place, Tower Hamlets Council Chambers (5 Clove Crescent E14 2BG)

Further information about the consultation and how to take part can be found online at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/HMOAdditionalconsultation. The consultation started on 1 March and responses are required by 24 May 2018.

For more information about property licensing rules in Tower Hamlets, visit: www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/tower-hamlets

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