Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,00015:08 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago 36
Hello fellow landlords, I have a small portfolio of properties in Tower Hamlets. They introduced an Additional Licencing scheme throughout the borough in April. I’m just now starting to get the notices back and find that 3 of my 3-bed properties are only licence-able as 2-bed properties. 2 are with rooms 6square meters (51cm squared too small) and the other is 6.4 square meters, making it just 11 square cm too small for a habitable room.
What are other landlords doing in these situations?
My options are :
1. Take it on as a two bed and take the hit in reducing the rent
2. Somehow move the bedroom wall, stealing 10cm squared from the double bedroom behind it, thereby making the room big enough. (technically this could require permission from the council who are the freeholders, sigh).
3. Sell the property and just keep the ones in the portfolio that have been granted a licence and have rooms the right size.
The housing officer indicated, after some prodding, that other landlords were moving walls to make their smaller bedrooms compliant. These are not houses we are talking about. Tower Hamlets is predominantly ex-council flats, with the majority of their stock being a typical 3 bedroom maisonette with the 3rd bedroom being between 6 and 6.8 square meters.
A LOT of bedrooms are going to be deemed ‘illegal’ from this legislation, therefore a lot of lower budget tenants are going to be left with less choice in this borough.
The Issuing Authority is also telling me that I need to issue a notice to quit on the person in the ‘illegal’ bedroom. As my tenants came to me as a group, and not on individual contracts, I am unable to just kick that person out. Am I?
I was hoping to leave the whole group in situ until their contract expires. but the impression I get from the wording of the licence is that they expect me to get rid of that individual immediately.
If you have any advice on how to proceed, I would appreciate your help and candid opinion.
Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.