The council of the London borough of Brent has made the decision to extend its selective licensing scheme to include five additional wards and up to 100,000 households. It now includes Dudeen Hill, Kensal Green, Kilburn, Mapesbury and Queen’s Park.
This scheme came into effect 1st June, requiring all private rented houses in multi-occupation (HMOs) within Brent and the included wards to apply for the relevant license. The Brent.Gov website clarifies that there are three types of schemes:
- Mandatory Licensing – for HMOs of three or more storeys occupied by five or more people, making up two or more households
- Additional Licensing – for all privately rented properties occupied by three or more people making up two or more households, regardless of the number of storeys
- Selective Licensing – for all privately rented properties, in selective council wards
Fees do apply for the scheme, but the council has stated that they are not permitted to make a profit, and that the scheme has to be of neutral cost.
The council has won over 140 prosecution cases against rogue landlords, agents and sub-letters since 2016, bringing about fines totalling over £800,000. It also estimates that around 5,000 properties in the five wards will require a selective licence.
Councillor Eleanor Southwood, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: “This is good news for everyone who rents their home. Obviously most landlords provide a decent service.
“Unfortunately, too many think they can take advantage of their tenants. Selective licensing is a big step in the right direction towards a properly regulated rental market – something that’s long overdue across the capital.”
Other measures have also been made to improve the Private Rented Sector (PRS) within London. A new database has recently been set up by Mayor Sadiq Khan, allowing councils to report the successful prosecution and fines of rogue landlords and letting agents, as a way of naming and shaming them. All 33 London boroughs have now signed up for this database.