Cabinet approves the introduction of a boroughwide Additional Licensing Scheme for HMOs

Following a meeting of Hounslow Cabinet on the 9 July, the introduction of a boroughwide Additional Licensing Scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) has been approved.

Published: Thursday, 11th July 2019

Image of a residential street in West London.

The council’s additional licensing scheme for HMOs, will extend the current scheme for another five-years. 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 introduction followed a 10-week public consultation to gauge public opinion on; a borough-wide additional licensing scheme, the proposed licensing conditions and the level of licensing fees.

The new borough-wide scheme covers a greater number and type of HMOs than both the national mandatory licensing scheme and the council’s previous scheme. The 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 mandatory licensing scheme, the council is unable to exercise licensing controls over poorly converted privately rented flats.

The additional licensing scheme will introduce higher standards and conditions to strengthen the council’s powers to eliminate dangerous and overcrowded accommodation and to 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 Lily Bath, Lead Member for Housing and Social Inclusion, said:

“As a borough with a high level of private rented dwellings, we must do all we can to ensure tenants have decent living standards and aren’t being taken advantage of by a small number of rogue landlords who have no regard for regulations and the standards which tenants can reasonably expect.

“Some of the most vulnerable people in our society reside in HMOs and their welfare and that of all tenants in Hounslow is a strong priority for the council. We look forward to working with landlords to ensure, that the additional licensing scheme is a great success and will improve the quality of accommodation in the borough.”

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