Havering Council to Approve Landlord Licensing Scheme

Havering Council is set to approve an additional landlord licensing scheme applicable to landlords in 12 wards.

The aim behind the scheme is to crack down on poor housing conditions and anti-social behavior in areas which have a large number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The 12 wards selected by the council include Brooklands, Mawneys, Elm Park, Pettits, Gooshays, Rainham & Wennington, Harold Wood, Romford Town, Havering Park, South Hornchurch, Heaton and Squirrels Heath.

Research conducted by the council has found that there may be as many as 1,200 HMOs in Havering, amounting to 7 per cent of the boroughs privately rented properties. This research has encouraged councilors to introduce the scheme as council officers are currently aware of just 300 HMOs, whilst research suggests that there could be as many as 800 in the 12 proposed wards alone.

Under the scheme, landlords in the affected areas will need to purchase five-year licenses for their properties. These are paid for in two parts, costing £900 in total. A discounted fee of £762.50 is available for investors who sign up before the end of February.

Should the council receive complaints about the management, use or maintenance of the property, it reserves the right to revoke the license.

A council report on the matter, set to be debated by cabinet members next Wednesday reads: ‘The introduction of a suitable licensing scheme will enable a significant change in the way that anti-social behaviour and poor management associated with some of the private rented sector is tackled. Through licensing, the council will know who is responsible for the management of properties that are rented out and who is responsible for dealing with problems associated with the dwelling.’

A public consultation on the plans ran from May 19 to July 28 this year. Over 70 per cent of responses agreed that HMOs were ‘contributing to the decline of some areas of Havering’. 74 per cent of those surveyed agreed with the 12 ward scheme, although 19 per cent felt it unnecessary.