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Warning issued to London landlords as four new licensing schemes come into force in March 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A raft of new property licensing schemes looks set to increase the regulatory complexity and compliance costs for London landlords and letting agents.

As of February 2018, there are twenty nine additional and selective licensing schemes operating in London. These schemes have extended licensing to around 235,000 properties, according to research by London Property Licensing.

With more licensing schemes on the horizon, London Property Licensing remains the only online information resource publishing free information on every property licensing scheme in the capital - we help landlords and letting agents to keep up to date and remain compliant!  

Havering additional licensing scheme

On 1 March 2018, Havering Council are implementing an additional licensing scheme in the council wards of Brooklands, Elm Park, Gooshays, Harold Wood, Havering Park, Heaton, Mawneys, Pettits, Rainham & Wennington, Romford Town, South Hornchurch and Squirrels Heath.

The licensing scheme will apply to all properties shared by three or more people who are not all related and share facilities. It will also include so-called 'section 257 HMOs' which are certain buildings that have been converted into flats. An estimated 800 properties will need to be licensed.

We understand the council are offering a discount of about 15% for applications submitted by 28 February 2018 - after that, the standard fee will be £900 per property, with a slight reduction for accredited landlords.

Newham's replacement selective licensing scheme

On 1 March 2018, Newham Council are renewing their selective licensing scheme after receiving approval from the Secretary of State. The licensing scheme will apply borough wide except for the 'E20' postcode.

Under the replacement scheme, all private rented properties within the scheme boundary will need to be licensed unless they fall within one of the statutory exemptions.

When applications are renewed, the application fee has increased to £750 per property, with a reduced fee of £400 for applications submitted by 15 March 2018.

Kingston's replacement additional licensing scheme

On 1 March 2018, the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames are renewing their borough wide additional licensing scheme.

The licensing scheme will apply to HMOs that are one or two storeys high and occupied by five or more people and al HMOs of three or more storeys occupied by three or four people. We understand so-called 'section 257 HMOs' which are certain buildings that have been converted into flats have been excluded from the scheme, although the council's guidance is not that clear.

The licence application fee varies according to the size of the building, number of rooms and whether the landlord is accredited.

Harrow to implement their fifth property licensing scheme

On 14 March 2018, Harrow Council are implementing a selective licensing scheme in the council wards of Roxeth and Roxbourne. Under the new scheme, all private rented properties within the scheme boundary will need to be licensed unless they fall within one of the statutory exemptions.

This will be Harrow Council's fifth licensing scheme - they already operate mandatory HMO licensing, an additional licensing scheme and two selective licensing schemes.

The latest scheme was approved at the council's cabinet meeting on 7 December 2017. Subsequent investigations by London Property Licensing have identified confusion about the scheme designation. Whilst the councillors approved a five year scheme, this does not correspond with the public notice displayed on the council's website (see insert below).

The public notice says that the licensing scheme will start on 14 March 2018 and that the scheme designation will end on 13 December 2020 - less than three years. The map of the area in Annex A is also missing from the public notice.

Harrow selective licensing public notice 2017

To date, Harrow Council have not replied to a request for comment about the new scheme designation.

Licensing fees set to increase substantially in Greenwich

Whilst the Royal Borough of Greenwich has been operating a borough wide additional licensing scheme since 1 October 2017, they are currently offering an early bird fee discount and charge £145 for each habitable room. Landlords are being urged to apply now as the fee will rise dramatically to £377 per habitable room from 19 March 2018.

Full details of all licensing schemes are available on the London Property Licensing website:

For further information about property licensing in Havering, visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/havering

For further information about property licensing in Newham, visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/newham

For further information about property licensing in Kingston, visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/kingston-upon-thames

For further information about property licensing in Harrow, visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/harrow

For further information about property licensing in Greenwich, visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/greenwich 

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