Wandsworth Council in London is seeking to introduce additional licensing for homes shared by more than three residents from different households, as well as new selective licensing for the wider private rented sector.
The aim of these schemes is to drive up standards, crack down on rogue landlords and ultimately raise more money for the council.
In a bid to win public support ahead of a 12-week consultation to start in the coming months, Wandsworth Council refers to the proposed schemes as ‘landlord licensing on rogue landlords’, which some people could interpret as suggesting that all local BTL investors are unscrupulous operators.
Currently the local authority operates mandatory licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) with five or more residents from different households.
The proposed additional licensing will cover smaller HMOs that are not already addressed under the existing mandatory scheme, including properties containing three or more residents from different households. This will apply borough-wide.
The selective licensing scheme proposed covers the wider PRS and will be rolled out in Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway and Furzedown – an estimated 8,600 properties – where the prevalence of the most serious housing hazards are predicted to be present. Once established, the Council has the option of expanding this across other areas of the borough with the Secretary of State’s approval.
The introduction of both of these schemes will allow the Council to hold poor landlords to account and to take action to improve standards across the sector.
Aydin Dikerdem, cabinet member for housing, said: “Having a good home is the foundation for a good life. The schemes we are proposing would mean that the council is able to take more robust action on sub-standard homes and increase the support available to tenants – improving standards in HMOs and the Private Rental market and creating a fairer borough for everyone.”
After the 12-week consultation, the results will be presented to the Housing Committee for a decision on whether to implement the schemes.