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."
A few months ago, I wrote an article on the Clapham Property Blog about the length of time it took to sell a property in Clapham and the saleability of the different price bands (i.e. whether the lower/middle or upper local property markets were moving slower or quicker than the others). For reference, a few months ago it was taking on average 76 days from the property coming on the market for it to be sold subject to contract (and that was based on every Estate Agent in Clapham) … and today … 126 days .. does that surprise you with what is happening in the UK economy?
Well, a number of Clapham landlords and homeowners, who are looking to sell in the coming months, contacted me following that article to enquire what difference the type of property (i.e. Detached/Semi/Terraced/Apartment) made to saleability and also the saleability of property by the number of bedrooms. As I have said before, whether you are a Clapham landlord looking to liquidate your buy to let investment or a hom…
“I just love looking over and keeping up to date the 108 pieces of legislation that govern the rental of residential property in the UK”
...No Clapham Landlord, ever
If you are one of the 2,159 Clapham (or SW4 to be precise) landlord’s that manages your own property, would it surprise you to know that there are 108 separate pieces of legislation that govern the rental of private houses to tenants. Oh, and on top of the 108 pieces of law, there are further 300+ regulations in the mix. Whilst Clapham landlords may once have preferred to manage their Clapham buy-to-let properties themselves to boost their profits, many Clapham landlords are starting to see this as a false economy.
In the last four years, an additional 830 landlords in Clapham have converted from self-managed to having their property managed by a letting agent in Clapham, taking the total number of properties under management in Clapham to 3,377 (out of a total of 5,536 private rental properties in Clapham).
Many folks say moving home is the most stressful thing. Moving home is like someone (and that someone is usually you and you are the cause of this devastation) has collected all your worldly goods, put them into brown boxes and into a lorry making your whole life look like a Amazon delivery van, only to spend the next six months unpacking it all, whilst unable to find important things like your bank cards, ‘those’ shoes or special jewellery!
We wish we could be instantly transported like in Star Trek “Beam me up Scotty to a blissful moved in state”. Yet the week you move, it’s like an episode from the original 1960’s series Star Trek, when the crew had a transporter accident with an ion-storm sends Kirk and Spock into an alternate reality, where the caring Federation is the merciless Terran Empire, and the USS Enterprise is a warship and chaos eschews!!!
Star Trek aside, when you decide to move and before the stress of living out of cardboard boxes for months descends; first you t…