Landlords with rental properties in the London borough of Newham must license all their properties in the borough by January 1st.
Approximately one in three households in Newham borough, an estimated 35,000, are rental properties.
Newham Council is charging £150 for applications made before the end of this year. After this time, the fee for the mandatory five-year licence will increase to £500.
Failure to apply for a licence by the end of the year will be an offence, warns the council, and could result in a fine of £20,000.
Although it will usually be the landlord who is the licence holder, that may not always be the case. The licence holder should be ‘the most appropriate person to hold the licence’ and could be the managing agent. However, it is noteworthy that whoever holds the licence is responsible for adhering to its terms and conditions.
Without a licence, landlords will not be able to use the section 21 procedure to gain possession, and the local authority could take over the management of the property.
To date, Newham borough council are the only local authority in England and Wales to introduce borough-wide licensing of ALL private rental properties, regardless of size and whether or not they are HMOs. However housing and homeless charity Shelter is urging all other local authorities to follow suit.
The ability to introduce licensing over and above the statutory licensing of certain HMOs is available to local authorities under additional and (in this case) selective licensing powers.
Local authorities are also free to introduce planning regimes whereby landlords must apply for planning permission if they plan to change tenants, for example, from a single family household to a small group of sharers.
Newham borough council landlords can apply online for a licence. For more information or to apply online, click here.