Lewisham Landlord Licence required?

Lewisham Landlord Licence required?

16:37 PM, 17th March 2022, About 2 months ago 2

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Hello everyone, Some licensing help if I may, I’m a little confused about Lewisham Council licencing.

I let out a 3-bedroom split-level Victorian terrace maisonette conversion aka ‘a 3-bed flat’ to 3 unrelated professionals, and I’m trying to ascertain if I’m required to apply for an HMO licence or not.

I’m finding the information on Lewisham’s website somewhat confusing and contradicting.

For example, on the page “Find out what an HMO is and which ones need a licence.” We are told, “HMOs with 4 or less residents do not require a licence.”

However, in other areas of the HMO section of the website we are told on the same page:

1. “A new Additional Scheme will come into force on Tuesday 5 April 2022 and will apply to any HMO property in Lewisham that is not captured by the National Mandatory Scheme or is specifically excluded from Licensing”
2. But also contradictory saying “Not all HMOs need to be licensed”

Furthermore, if I was to apply for a licence, I can see I might fall foul a number of prescribed standards namely:

• Supply Emergency Lightning Certificate – my understanding this is a requirement for the bigger HMOs
• Fire Detection Warning System Certificate – I don’t have or was aware I needed it, I do have mains smoke alarms in all rooms regular tested and an up to date EICR
• Detailed floor plans – never had or needed
• Fit and Proper test – I’m a member of NRLA but I’ve not had any formal NRLA training and it seems to imply you need training by a recognised body.

Is anyone in a similar position to me and are both confused and worried about all this?
It’s my only rental property and, in fact, used to be my first home many years ago.

Any guidance from the community is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Chris



Comments

by Des Taylor Landlords Defence Ltd

12:49 PM, 18th March 2022, About 2 months ago

Hello Chris,

Three unrelated persons in any property sharing facilities is a HMO as defined under Sec 254 of the Housing Act 2004.

So, you have a HMO.

You must comply with the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and should have done so since you had three occupants of which two are unrelated.

As to Licensing, until the additional licensing scheme is operative, you are not required to be licensed as the mandatory scheme kicks in at the 5th occupant.

Mandatory HMO Licensing is for 5 occupants where two are unrelated.

Additional is where the local authority decides it needs additional licensing for HMOs where 3 or 4 occupants are in occupation. (There are many reasons, one being revenue amongst others).

The Lewisham scheme excludes section 257 HMOs (certain converted blocks of flats). - Seek advice professionally form a Certified Assessor to know if you have a Sec 257 HMO (converted building).

Depending on the ward of the borough, the permitted development right to create a HMO has been removed, so in Bellingham, Downham, Grove Park and Whitefoot wards since since 2020, there are not supposed to be new HMOs, so if have created it since 7 Mar 2020, then you would be in breach of planning. (Not an offence, unless enforced against and ignored).

YOU MUST apply for the licence by 5th April 2022 (please note as I write that two Boroughs Camden and Southwark are unable to process applications due to website technical issues).

Please ensure you apply early and that you are resident in the UK and that you understand the responsibilities you are placed under as a HMO Manager and soon to be a Licence Holder.

The offence of not being licensed and the offence of breaching Management Regulations are strict liability offences and the fines are disproportionate to anything else you pay as a landlord.

Some bedtime reading:

Housing Act 1988
Housing Act 2004
Part 1 Housing Health & Safety
Part 2 HMO Licensing
Regulatory Reform 2005 Fire Safety and updates
LACORS 2006
Deregulation Act 2015
Housing and Planning Act 2016
HMO - Statutory Instruments 2018
Tenant Fee Act 2019
Landlord Electrical Regulations 2020
Coronavirus 2020-2021
BS5839-6:2019 +A1:2020 Fire Alarms

Many employ a competent and qualified agent who is HMO experienced and can prove it and who is qualified with ongoing Certified Professional Development.

Make the application, make sure you are compliant.

If you self manage or you use an agent, you should ensure you have the property surveyed with a HHSRS and Fire Risk Assessment by certified personnel to ensure that you are compliant.

It is an excellent defence against inexperienced enforcement officers, who shoot, fire and then aim Civil Penalties at landlords for everything they can; to fill the revenue coffers for their department and employers.

Think heavy parking enforcement then 100 to 500 times as big and stressful and you may have an idea of the local authority thinking.

It is designed to be confusing and inconclusive, yet you cannot use that as a reasonable excuse defence. Seek professional help and be wise and be compliant.

Welcome to the new reality.

Des Taylor
Casework Director
Landlord Licensing and Defence

by Chris Dunn

14:54 PM, 18th March 2022, About 2 months ago

Thank you Des for your complete reply, certainly some work to do. Chris


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