New licensing for landlords is being introduced on the 5th June 2017 in Hammersmith and Fulham. It is along similar lines to the ones introduced in Ealing in January and other London Boroughs in 2016. Here are some useful Frequently asked questions that may be of interest to you:
Why has the council introduced an additional HMO licensing scheme?
The national mandatory licensing scheme only covers larger houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs). Evidence collected shows that problems exist in smaller rented properties that need to be addressed. Following consultation it was agreed that an additional licensing scheme was the best way forward.
Why not just tackle less responsible landlords without having additional licensing?
Discovering less responsible landlords is not easy because some tenants are worried about eviction and will not make a complaint, or do not know that they are able to make a complaint. Proactive licensing should resolve this.
Is the council using additional licensing fees to raise money?
No. The scheme has been designed to be cost neutral as required by the Housing Act 2004. Fees collected will only offset the cost of additional staff, resources and administration for this scheme alone.
If I have more than one licensable property, do I have to make an application for them all at the same time?
Yes. A landlord has to make an application for all rented properties meeting the criteria.
What happens if my property should be licensed but I don't apply for one?
You would be committing an offence and run the risk of prosecution with a fine of up to £20,000. A Residential Property Tribunal may order you to repay 12 month's rent to the tenants. You would be unable to recover possession of the property using a Section 21, Housing Act 1988 notice.
How does additional licensing scheme work?
Additional licensing works in exactly the same way as the national mandatory licensing scheme. Owners of properties that need to be licensed must proactively make an application and pay the appropriate fee. Following that application the application will be processed, the applicant sent a draft licence together with conditions that must be met.
What happens if I don't comply with the conditions of the property licence?
You run the risk of prosecution and a possible fine of up to £5,000 per condition breached.
If you have any questions at all on Selective, Additional or Mandatory Licensing, please do not hesitate to contact us.
William Taper BSc (Hons)
T: 020 8222 9904