Today's blog is by Richard Tacagni of London Property Licensing, specialist in helping residential landlords make sense of London property licensing.
Southwark Council is the latest borough set to implement new licensing schemes for private rented homes.
On 21 July 2015, the Council’s Cabinet approved borough wide additional licensing plus a network of smaller selective licensing areas spread across the borough. Both schemes will go live on 1 November 2015.
According to the Council, Southwark’s private rented sector has seen rapid growth and about 70,000 people now live in private rented homes – about a quarter of all residents.
The Council says that whilst much of the sector provides decent accommodation and is well managed, there are problems associated with parts of the sector arising from poor management, poor property conditions and issues of anti-social behaviour.
The Council says that their enforcement activity involving multiple occupied properties has increased by 289% over the past 5 years, leading to a 500% increase in the number of HMO prosecutions over the same period. Research by London Property Licensingplaces Southwark in the top five London councils when it comes to taking housing prosecutions.
Additional HMO licensing
The additional licensing scheme will extend House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing to all HMOs in the borough. Every private rented property shared by three or more people who are not all related will need to be licensed – an estimated 10,000 properties.
In certain parts of the borough, a new selective licensing scheme will extend property licensing to all private rented homes – including houses and flats rented by an individual or single household.
The scheme designation says it “…includes but is not limited to Walworth Road, Camberwell Road, Camberwell New Road, Camberwell Green, Coldharbour Lane, Denmark Hill, Camberwell Church Street, Bellenden Road, Southampton Way, Old Kent Road, Meeting House Lane, Queens Road, Rye Lane, Evelina Road, Lordship Lane (North), Lordship Lane (South)”.
Yet further investigation by London Property Licensing has found that the selective licensing scheme is far bigger than at first appears. The scheme extends across seventeen distinct areas including 134 streets and is estimated to include up to 5,000 properties.
This is one of the most complex licensing schemes to date and landlords and letting agents will need to study the arrangements very carefully.
Whilst the selective licensing fee has been set at £500 / property for up to five years, the additional licensing fee for HMOs has been set at £250 / bedroom, making it £1,250 for a five-bed shared house for up to five years. This will become one of the highest additional licensing fees in London.
Landlords who apply within the first six months will receive a 20% discount, with a further 20% discount offered to accredited landlords.
The council says there will be an online application process and all properties will be inspected before a licence is issued.
Councillor Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for housing at Southwark Council said:
"With the rapid expansion of the private rented sector in Southwark, it is vital that we’re on the side of private sector tenants and those responsible landlords who provide a good standard of housing, particularly where children are concerned. We just want to make sure this is the experience of everyone residing in a private property in Southwark.
"On its own licensing will not solve the issues created by poorly managed private rented accommodation. But it’s a step towards ensuring that rogue landlords are held accountable and curbing anti-social behaviour."
So, you're letting your property? Now is the time. Take advantage of that summer market whilst you still can. What's that you say? Property available in November? Well get marketing. Now. Because whilst there are stragglers around from the busy summer period you will do very well, despite your property being available in what is usually a slow time of the year. How does that work? Simples... August is the busiest month in lettings. This has always been the case. After that there are some stragglers left over in September, snapping up anything that is left. Even properties with move dates far in advance are taken, simply because they can't rely on anything else coming on to the market. You know the student saying "if you leave it to late EVERYTHING will be gone." Not true of course, there will be plenty of greedy landlords with sky high prices, but nobody rents those. Well-priced, well-presented properties let. Beds in sheds do not. Regardless of
Well if there is one bit of good news that came out of this Covid-19 Pandemic it's the sheer amount of help displayed from the government to assist those in need. We all know by now the extent of the grants and breaks for most of those in the economy, now the housing market needs a push. Estate agents are rejoicing in easy sales now as with the axe of stamp duty up to £500,000 it certainly means a considerable cash discount on purchasing a (next) home. Imagine not having to fork out with the £15,000 required on a £500,000 purchase price certainly makes a considerable difference! And for investors? Sadly the 3% surcharge still remains... However there's still savings to be had of course, on £500,000 we are also saving that £15,000, so still less money to park in the "deal" upfront. This can only be a good thing. Forever? Well the key question is of course, how long will this last? At the moment details such as that remain unclear, so should we all rush to buy now? We
Not a day goes by without people saying that they would love to invest in property. Of course, I hear this all the time because property is what I eat, sleep and breathe regularly! Little do people know that being a full-time investors does come with its perils. I'm quite hands-on and I self-manage - admittedly because I've been doing this for over a decade it doesn't require a lot of time from my part, but sometimes I do have to jump in the car and see things with my own eyes. This was no exception. I've put together a little video for your viewing pleasure to depict "A day in the life of..." A little bit light-hearted and gives some insight into the reflection I have to do with the information I receive from various sources... and yes, a lot of traffic! Enjoy! Click the preview below or this link to start the video . Remember if you are looking to step into property investment, be it part-time or full-time do reach out to me. Happy to help of cou