Hounslow Council’s proposal to consult with residents on the introduction of an additional licensing scheme for rented Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) was approved at Cabinet on 22 January 2019.
Published: Wednesday, 23rd January 2019
The council’s additional licensing scheme for HMOs, due to expire in May 2019, could be extended for another five-year period. The extension of the scheme will enable the council to continue to improve housing standards in the private rented market and will help to tackle rogue landlords.
The proposed borough-wide scheme covers a greater number and type of HMOs than both the national mandatory licensing scheme and the council’s existing scheme. The proposed scheme will apply to shared HMOs with three or more persons. The previous two-story requirement has been removed and single-story HMOs will be included. Rented properties that are subdivided into self-contained units without the appropriate Building Regulation requirements will also be included. Under the current mandatory licensing scheme, the council is unable to exercise licensing controls over poorly converted privately rented flats.
The proposal of the additional licensing scheme would introduce higher standards and conditions to strengthen the council’s powers to eliminate dangerous and overcrowded accommodation and bring rogue landlords to account. This will include larger room sizes, limits on the numbers of people sharing facilities, higher standards for property maintenance, tenancy management and controlling antisocial behaviour.
Cllr Dunne, Lead Member for Communities and Workforce, said: “People who live in HMO's are often the most vulnerable in society and with some landlords face uncertain, overcrowded and sometimes dangerous conditions. Through this additional licencing scheme, we seek to put in place further regulations to continue to protect the living conditions of private renters in the borough. Landlords who fail to maintain a good standard of accommodation would be required to bring their properties up to scratch in line with the proposed regulations. We will come down hard on those that don't and will prosecute where necessary.”
Cllr Lily Bath, Lead Member for Housing and Social Inclusion, said: “We know that private rentals are on the rise in Hounslow and we must do all we can to ensure tenants aren’t taken advantage of by the small few who have disregard to the regulations and expected standards we have in place. The welfare of tenants in Hounslow is a strong priority for the council and we look forward to working with landlords to ensure, taking into consideration the feedback from our residents, that the proposed additional licensing scheme is a great success and will improve the quality of accommodation in the borough.”
The council would like to hear residents’ views on the proposal to extend additional HMO licensing for a further five years and as to whether the scheme should apply to all parts of the borough or specific areas only. The consultation is now live until 3 April 2019.
To read full cabinet report, visit the Hounslow Council website.