Private Rented Property Licensing consultation

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Private Rented Property Licensing consultation

One of the Council’s priorities is that all residents have a decent roof over their head. More than a third of all of our residents now rent privately and this number continues to increase. Although many of our landlords are responsible, the evidence is that more than 8,000 rented homes contain significant hazards and that we have nearly 6,000 HMOs. Large scale licensing schemes will enable the Council to intervene effectively to safeguard the living conditions of some of our most vulnerable residents.

The existing borough wide Selective Licensing scheme expires on 31 March 2020.

Cabinet has agreed to continue to license most privately rented properties in Waltham Forest by replacing this scheme with:

  • A selective licensing scheme covering 18 of the borough’s 20 wards [all wards except Hatch Lane and Endlebury] (subject to confirmation by the Secretary of State)

  • A borough wide additional licensing scheme covering eligible HMOs that fall outside the scope of national HMO licensing, where three or more persons forming two or more households share one or more amenities [washing facilities, WCs, cooking facilities]

A comprehensive consultation exercise was carried out for 12 weeks from 4th February to the 29th April 2019. We received over 2,400 responses through a combination of the completion of an on-line questionnaire and face-to-face interviews. The consultation was open to all residents, tenants, landlords, agents and businesses but was particularly relevant to those in Waltham Forest and neighbouring boroughs. We encouraged people to read the background information about the proposals before responding. A summary of the evidence is in the links below.

 

Summary of Response

  • The majority of residents/tenants agreed with the Council’s proposal to reintroduce selective licensing in Waltham Forest. A majority of landlords did not agree with the proposal but 28% did;

  • The majority of respondents agreed with the council’s proposal to introduce additional licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs);

  • A minority of respondents said that the Council should consider alternatives to its proposed licensing schemes;

  • Most landlords & agents agreed with the proposed approach to licence fees, including provision for an ‘early bird’ discount and other available discounts. There were specific representations made on behalf of certain charities providing private rented accommodation below market rent, including almshouses, regarding licence fees;

  • The vast majority of respondents said the proposed selective licence and additional licensing conditions were clear and understandable. Some respondents provided comments where they considered that specific conditions were not needed or should be amended;

  • Waltham Forest has received messages of support from more than 15 key stakeholders, including the Mayor of London and the GLA, London Assembly and all key neighbouring London Boroughs.

Read the Council’s full response to the consultation

As a result of the consultation exercise, and our own scrutiny process, we have made a number of changes to our original proposals in relation to our licence fee structure and the conditions to be attached to any granted property licence:

  1. Licence fees for eligible charities have been reduced by £150 per property

  2. The Council has deleted one proposed selective licensing condition and amended 7 more. It has also deleted one proposed additional licensing condition and amended 8 more

Additional Licensing will come into force, borough-wide on 1 April 2020 for all Houses in Multiple Occupation (“HMOs’’) that are privately rented and occupied by three or more persons forming two or more households  under one or more  tenancies. Read the public notice for the designation.

Selective Licensing of this scale requires the confirmation of the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).