MHCLG 5 year approval for Waltham Forest selective licensing

by Property 118

8:55 AM, 23rd January 2020
About a month ago

MHCLG 5 year approval for Waltham Forest selective licensing

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MHCLG 5 year approval for Waltham Forest selective licensing

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has given approval for Waltham Forest’s new selective licensing scheme, which will cover 18 out of 20 wards (excluding Hatch Lane and Endlebury) and will commence on Friday 1 May 2020.

Waltham Forest council claim to have evidence that over 8,000 rented homes contain significant hazards and that licensing will enable the council to intervene effectively to help raise housing standards, reduce anti-social-behaviour, and allow the council to deal effectively with non-compliant landlords who exploit vulnerable tenants by letting out overcrowded, unsuitable, and dangerous properties.

Cllr Louise Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness Prevention, said: “Our selective licensing scheme is an important tool for us as we work to ensure all private rental tenants in Waltham Forest have a decent roof over their head. I’m very pleased that the MHCLG have approved our proposal to operate the scheme in 18 out of our 20 wards over the next five years.

“We know that the majority of landlords are reputable and take good care of their properties and tenants. However, there are a minority who are happy to take advantage of those in need of a home and exploit them to line their own pockets.

“Our message to these rogue landlords is clear: If you want to rent property out in Waltham Forest, your property must meet the licensing scheme’s standards and you must ensure that your tenants are safe. If you do not, we will find out and take action against you. Tenants deserve to live safety, with security, and in comfort.”

The selective licensing scheme ensures landlords meet a set of licence conditions such as making sure fire safety precautions are in place, ensuring properties are not dangerous and that they are properly managed. It will also help the council deal with anti-social behaviour (ASB), as the licence makes landlords responsible for dealing with ASB at the earliest opportunity.

The council recognises that there are many good landlords operating in the borough and is offering an ‘early-bird’ discount to those responsible landlords who register between Friday 1 May and Friday 31 July 2020. It will continue to run landlord forums, providing guidance on how to make necessary rental property improvements, comply with any new legislation and become more professional in their approach to renting out properties – enabling landlords to provide a high-quality service to local residents.

Waltham Forest Property Licensing Schemes

Selective licensing, A borough-wide selective licensing scheme was first launched in Waltham Forest in April 2015 and will end on Tuesday 31 March 2020. With General Approval issued by Secretary of State on Tuesday 21 January 2020, a new selective licensing scheme will start on Friday 1 May 2020 and will be mandatory in 18 out 20 of the borough’s wards. The new scheme will run for a period of five years and will end Wednesday 30 April 2025.

The scheme requires landlords to apply for a licence if they rent any house or self-contained flat which is let or occupied to a single household or no more than two unrelated persons and is in one of the 18 wards in the designation. This excludes Hatch Lane and Endlebury wards.

Since selective licensing was first introduced in the borough in April 2015 over 27,000 property licences have been issued and the council has:

  • issued more than 149 Civil Penalties;
  • issued more than 50 interim management orders;
  • improved 3,100 privately rented properties;
  • pursued 94 successful prosecutions, resulting in more than £323,000 in court-imposed fines.

Additional licensing, approved by Waltham Forest Cabinet on Thursday 11 July 2019, will launch on Wednesday 1 April 2020 and will target Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) that are privately rented but which do not come within the scope of mandatory HMO licensing and where households share one or more basic amenity such as a bath or WC.

Further Information

Those who don’t obtain a licence or fail to comply with licence conditions where a licence has been granted will face financial penalties of up to £30,000 for each separate offence or a criminal prosecution with the possibility of an unlimited fine. Non-compliant landlords could also be forced to pay tenants back up to a year’s rent via a Rent Repayment Order (RRO). Serious offenders can be banned from letting homes completely and placed on a rogue landlord’s database.

 

Further information and assistance regarding property licensing is available from the Council’s Private Sector Housing & Licensing Team:

Website: www.walthamforest.gov.uk/content/private-rented-property-licensing

Email: propertylicensing@walthamforest.gov.uk

Tel: 020 8496 4949



Comments

Luke P

9:03 AM, 23rd January 2020
About a month ago

Is it the MHCLG that approve these >20% schemes or the Housing Minister (or Home Secretary, even)?

Old Mrs Landlord

9:28 AM, 23rd January 2020
About a month ago

The local council's licensing scheme makes landlords "responsible for dealing with ASB at the earliest opportunity" while central government removes S.21 which is about the only mechanism available to landlords for dealing with tenants who engage in such behaviour. Our hands are tied and we can do no more than encourage others to behave in a certain way. How can anyone be held legally responsible for the behaviour of anyone else?

David Price

9:46 AM, 23rd January 2020
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 23/01/2020 - 09:28
Just my thoughts, I do not believe it will be long before a landlord goes to jail because of the misdeeds of one of his tenants - and the tenant will remain at liberty.

Michael Holmes

19:29 PM, 23rd January 2020
About a month ago

The creeping takeover of the PRS is gathering pace. like the catastrophic regulation overload on small Care Homes, the PRS is being slowly nationalised by the back door. I believe something in the order of 70000 care homes have closed in the last 10 years, exacerbating the shortage of placements for the elderly. the same thing is surely happening to the PRS, so plan now how you are going to deal with it.

Mick Roberts

9:01 AM, 25th January 2020
About 4 weeks ago

The council's figures tell me 24,000 tenants houses have paid for nothing.


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