Two more London councils are poised to introduce additional licensing schemes – despite criticism that all they need to do is use existing enforcement powers to greater effect.
Redbridge discussed proposals last night, due to go before full council next week, while tonight, Camden is due to discuss a borough-wide scheme covering all properties shared by three or more people.
The scheme would also cover the licensing of converted self-contained flats that do not comply with Building Regulations.
Camden environmental health officers visited 391 HMOs and rated 19% as poor or very poor. They also visited 28 flats above shops where they found four with poor conditions.
The council undertook a 22-week consultation exercise and received 1,400 responses to its online survey: 70% of respondents were in favour of the licensing scheme. However,just 171 landlords responded, of whom most – 71% – were opposed.
Camden Council hosts the London-wide Landlord Accreditation Scheme, but said accreditation does nothing for poor standards in properties run by landlords who are not members.
If Camden’s proposals go ahead, it would be implemented in December. Redbridge would implement its scheme early next year.
Richard Tacagni, managing director of consultancy firm London Property Licensing, said: “This move by Camden Council will bring another 8,000 HMOs within the remit of property licensing in what is becoming an increasingly complex regulatory landscape.
“By December 2015, we will have almost 20 separate property licensing schemes operating in London, each with different terms and conditions – a situation that is being replicated in various parts of the country.
“Yet unsafe and badly managed will only be tackled by enforcement action and councils need to step up to the mark and make effective use of their existing enforcement powers.”