Newham council is now to renew its licensing schemes for a further five years after hailing them a successful method of monitoring and improving the buy to let sector.
Newham Council was the first local authority to introduce borough-wide landlord licensing in 2013. The council runs both selective and additional licensing schemes that require all landlords to license any privately rented properties. However, these schemes end on December 31st.
The number of households in Newham reliant on the private rental sector has doubled, growing from 23 per cent in 2009 to 46 per cent in 2016.
Newham Council have labelled the schemes a success due to the fact that they enabled 1,135 prosecutions for housing crimes, amounting to 70 per cent of all of London’s prosecutions. The scheme also allowed them to ban the 28 worst landlords from operating in the borough. They did this by forcing them to sell their rental properties, or hand them over to reputable managing agents. The council were also able to recover over £2.6 million in additional council tax per year.
Finally, 2,170 notices to improve housing conditions and management were served on landlords across the borough.
The Additional Licensing scheme has been renewed by the council. It will come into force across the entire borough, with the exception of Stratford & New Town from 1st January 2018. The Additional Licensing scheme requires landlords of small HMOs to apply for a license from the council for each of their properties within a designated zone. Properties are applicable when occupied by 3 or more persons in one or more households and are over three storeys high. There will be a standard application fee of £1250 per property for a licence up until 2022 when the scheme ends. Early bird applications made before the scheme goes live will only incur a free of just £800 per property.