Selective Licencing – 1 room is 10cm too small?

Selective Licencing – 1 room is 10cm too small?

9:21 AM, 6th December 2019, About 4 years ago 36

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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.


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Mick Roberts

12:22 PM, 7th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Prakash Tanna at 07/12/2019 - 10:11
Don't be surprised at anything Council Selective Licensing ask u to do. They have no clue about renting houses out.
They won't even pick up the phone to ask the COUNCIL Homeless section if Licensing is causing them a problem.

Robert M

16:23 PM, 7th December 2019, About 4 years ago

This is what happens were 1970s rules for large shared bedsits are taken and adopted for all houses where occupants are not related. Personally, I think there should be an exception if a property is let on a single joint tenancy.

Walls should be measured above skirting boards. If you are moving a wall look upon it as an opportunity, do not necessarily just shift by the minimum required. I have taken a straight wall out and put a dog leg in, giving both rooms a wardrobe recess. (Measure wardrobes, allow for skirtings.)

Mick Roberts

16:39 PM, 7th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert at 07/12/2019 - 16:23
Please correct me on this someone, Oct 2015, Govt bought or bought to the forefront these rules for all the Beds in Sheds in London etc.
But now Licensing is here, Licensing are trying to be Policeman & enforcing the rules even though we've had 'em a while.

That's it, let the family decide if they happy the way things are. I've just had homeless section put one of my tenants with 5 kids in one room in a hotel.


16:56 PM, 7th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 07/12/2019 - 16:39
A classic case of Lose-Lose-Lose. You lose the rent, the family loses their home and the council tax payer has to pay for the hotel. Why does society allow the government inflict this on the population?

Mick Roberts

17:10 PM, 7th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 07/12/2019 - 16:56
Its bonkers in't it. We know the answers. We see what happens cause we're a victim of it & we see the real loser victim, our tenant.
We also see Licensing. We also talk to & see Homeless section.
Yet they don't ruddy talk to each other.
We joining the dots up & telling 'em & they saying the script book overrules all rationality.

Roy B

15:46 PM, 8th December 2019, About 4 years ago

As someone else suggested either remove skirting boards if they measured from them - if not move the door back - for the 10 cm2 you only need to move it within the frame by mm to gain the extra space needed.

Jay James

17:42 PM, 8th December 2019, About 4 years ago

The extra space required in the case of the 6.4m2 room is 1100 square cm and not 10 square cm. Still, the extra might be achieved by moving a door by 13-15 cm.

Rob Crawford

20:02 PM, 9th December 2019, About 4 years ago

I like the idea of a dog leg alteration of the wall to create space for storage space on one or both side. Just don't put a door on it!

Jay James

20:09 PM, 9th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 09/12/2019 - 20:02
Sounds like a good idea and it provides more extra space than moving a door by 13-15cm.

Larry Sweeney

22:43 PM, 19th December 2019, About 4 years ago

If the size cannot be increased and you.must rent as a two bedder contact the valuation office to get it moved down a band as clearly its in the wrong band as a 3 bedder. Lets see how happy the council are with reduced revenues, might make them think twice when its costs thdm.

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