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Luton council wants to introduce licensing of all HMO properties across the town and of all privately rented properties within one ward, South Ward.
It is currently consulting on the proposal. ‘We would specifically like to hear from private tenants, landlords, letting and managing agents, residents and businesses and organisations operating in Luton and surrounding areas’, it said.
The South Ward has been singled out for selective licensing of all rented properties because it has attracted the highest levels of enforcement activity. There were 62 improvement notices issued in 2017-18, 70 the following year, and 81 in 2019-20.
Of the four Luton wards with over 40 per cent of private rented properties, South Ward has the highest number of private rented properties – an estimated 4,444, of which 162 are HMOs subject to licensing. There are also 685 properties that would be covered by new Luton additional HMO licensing regulations and 3,597 by new selective licensing.
‘Central government has given councils special powers to require landlords to have a licence for privately rented accommodation in defined areas. The council is committed to good quality, safe, warm, affordable homes and where this is not the case, these schemes will act as a force to improve standards for the benefit of all residents in the town’, said councillor Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing.
Licensing will be for five years with the standard application fee for HMOs with up to three bedrooms anticipated to be £488. There would be an extra charge of £122 for each additional bedroom. The standard application fee for properties subjected to selective licensing would be £488 per property, regardless of size.
The consultation period is to end on 22 September.