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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12:43 PM, 20th December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 19/12/2019 - 22:43
I have had this in slightly different circumstances, 'Unfit' for habitation for letting purposes but 'Fit' for council tax purposes. Landlords just cannot win.

philip allen

18:30 PM, 21st December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 06/12/2019 - 10:42
Excellent suggestion, David.

Ross Tulloch

8:25 AM, 22nd December 2019, About 4 years ago

Somehow this needs to get into the papers. What about starting with your local paper. Effectively the council are saying it be much better for people to be sleeping on the streets because that is legal than in a room slightly too small. Of course technically those room sizes are illegal throughout the country. I am not aware that anybody has estimated how many people will effectively be made homeless by this silly rule but it is in the tens of thousands. 20% of my properties had a room such as yours and because I did not want to take the hit on the rent I simply sold them all evicting everybody. A total disaster for the tenants and not good for me. I happened to know that one of the properties was taken on by a landlord, the biggest room divided into two and the property is now happily inhabited by even more people but totally illegally. Good for him and good for the tenants of course

Michael Barnes

17:10 PM, 22nd December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ross Tulloch at 22/12/2019 - 08:25
You support landlords acting illegally and getting us good landlords a bad press?

Ross Tulloch

17:38 PM, 22nd December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 22/12/2019 - 17:10
Michael Barnes, you are right of course, I am just angry that such a bad rule is ending up making people pay more than they need for accommodation as a result of silly rules that benefit no one. And many rooms will remain empty if rules are followed. Rather than break rules, or have empty rooms, we sold, which meant 8 very good tenants had to find somewhere else to live.

Michael Barnes

18:06 PM, 22nd December 2019, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ross Tulloch at 22/12/2019 - 17:38
I quite agree with that.

Particularly as the now homeless people can be put into temporary accommodation that is smaller than that from which thy have been removed due to government of LA rules.

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