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Buy to let investors who own Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Thurrock, which includes the well-known Lakeside Shopping Centre, have been reminded that a new landlord licensing scheme will come into force June 1st.
Thurrock Council are the latest to bring in such a scheme with the aim of improving the conditions and management of shared homes.
Thurrock Council’s additional licensing scheme starts on 1 June and will require private landlords and managing agents renting shared houses or flats to three or four unrelated people (houses in multiple occupation) to be licensed in certain parts of Thurrock.
Under the new regulations, landlords will have to comply with national health and safety standards and local criteria before a five-year licence is granted. Those who are not licensed could be prosecuted and receive an unlimited fine or be served with a civil penalty notice of up to £30,000.
The new scheme will complement existing UK-wide mandatory licensing, which applies to homes rented to five unrelated people or more. Thurrock Council this month became the first local authority in the Essex area to serve a civil penalty notice to landlords for failure to licence under the mandatory scheme, with three landlords fined a total of £16,000.
It is estimated there are currently about 700 houses in multiple occupation in Thurrock.
Portfolio holder for Housing at Thurrock Council, Cllr Barry Johnson, said: ‘We support responsible landlords in supplying good quality and safe homes to residents, but sadly there are those who fail to provide acceptable living conditions and don’t have adequate protection in place for their tenants or neighbouring homes.
‘We believe everyone should have a good quality place to live and tightening the regulations around more shared houses and flats will assist us in ensuring privately rented homes are safe and well managed.’