Hammersmith and Fulham Council to consult on new landlord licensing schemes
Investigations by London Property Licensing have uncovered proposals to implement new additional and selective licensing schemes in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, where private rented homes account for around a third of the housing stock – around 27,500 properties.
On 2 November 2015, a report on improving the private rented sector was presented at the Council’s Cabinet Meeting.
The report notes that the private rented sector in Hammersmith and Fulham has seen rapid growth over the last 10 years and the council expect this trend to continue, becoming the dominant housing tenure.
According to the council, Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) provide a ‘notable proportion’ of private rented sector accommodation. Whilst recognising they provide a valuable source of accommodation, the council say that HMOs account for the largest proportion of hazardous conditions reported annually.
In 2014/15, the council say they received 903 service requests from tenants complaining about the condition of their accommodation, a 46% increase on the previous year. Formal enforcement action was required in 87 properties.
The report also notes that over 40% of the borough’s anti-social behaviour emanates from about 20% of the private rented sector, although no detailed breakdown is provided.
The Cabinet report sets out a number of options that would be subject to consultation:
- A borough wide additional licensing scheme covering all HMOs not already licensable under the existing mandatory scheme;
- A selective licensing scheme covering all private rented accommodation in one fifth of the borough, although the area has not yet been defined;
- A new Landlords Rental Charter;
- Revised HMO standards; and
- Formation of a new social lettings agency, to be managed by the council.
The report was approved at the Cabinet meeting and consultation is expected to take place in early to mid-2016.
Under legislative changes that came into force on 1 April 2015, the council is unable to introduce a selective licensing scheme covering more than 20% of the borough, or 20% of private rented homes within it, without obtaining approval from the Secretary of State (read here).
For more information on property licensing in Hammersmith and Fulham and for all the latest developments, visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/hammersmith-fulham.