02 Aug 2019

Another local authority has announced that it wants to introduce another selective licensing scheme and designate its entire patch for HMO licensing.

This time it’s Waltham Forest which has applied to the government for consent to make the changes which would take effect on April 1 2020.

The council claims its decision follows on from “extensive consultation with residents, stakeholders, private sector tenants, landlords and lettings agencies” on proposals for selective licensing covering 18 of the borough’s wards, and a borough-wide HMO licensing designation.

Overall, almost 60 per cent of respondents agreed with the council’s proposal to introduce the additional licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation across the borough to regulate property conditions.

Since earlier, less restrictive licensing came into effect in 2015 the council says it has issued over 100 Civil Penalties and over 40 interim management orders.

It claims to have “improved 3,000 privately rented properties” and pursued 94 successful prosecutions, resulting in more than £300,000 in court-imposed fines.

A council spokeswoman says: “We have been at the forefront of protecting our residents living in the private rented sector by using our licensing scheme to effectively drive up standards. Licensing has the wide spread backing of key stakeholders who have seen first hand the difference it can make to the lives of residents.”

“While we have made tremendous progress in the last few years, there is still more work to do. With more of our residents now renting privately, it is so vitally important that we have the powers to tackle non-compliant landlords, who pay no regard to the rules and exploit vulnerable tenants by letting out overcrowded, unsuitable and dangerous properties.

“It would be entirely wrong and a backward step for private renters rights if government was to deny us the right to continue with this effective scheme which tackles criminal landlords and protects vulnerable individuals and families within the private rented sector.”

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