Council close to borough-wide licensing regime
A London council is edging closer to a borough-wide licensing regime, meaning the vast majority of landlords could soon be required to licence their properties in one London borough if the government agrees rule changes proposed by the council.
The ruling councillors in Brent have voted to extend the licensing of private rented properties and has agreed to seek confirmation from the government as soon as possible.
All landlords will be required to apply for a licence if housing minister Alok Sharmagives his approval. The government is expected to reach a decision by September this year.
Harbi Farah, Brent’s cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, says: “We have made these recommendations on the basis of reducing anti-social behaviour, deprivation and poor housing conditions in Brent. We have evidence to prove that when a landlord is required to meet the stipulations of a licence, we increase the likelihood of tenants enjoying a better standard of living and reduce anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhood.”
Currently all Houses in Multiple Occupation in Brent require a licence and this includes any property occupied by three or more people who are not all related, even if they are on a single tenancy, regardless of the number of storeys inside the property.
The council has what it describes as a “zero-tolerance policy” towards unlicensed properties and nearly 100 landlords and agents have been prosecuted in the past 18 months.
The council also says its enforcement team raids around 12 unlicensed properties a week.
The extension of selective licensing could be in force in designated wards by January 2018 if Sharma gives the go-ahead.