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Agents consulted over London councils' licensing extensions

Brent council in London is seeking the views of agents- as well as landlords, tenants and others - on the extension of a private rental sector licensing system.

In January 2015, the council introduced additional licensing of HMOs which was added to its existing mandatory HMO licensing scheme; it also introduced selective licensing of all privately rented accommodation in the specific wards. 

Now it is proposing to introduce selective licensing of privately rented accommodation in all other areas of the borough, which would require that all privately rented properties not covered by the existing selective, mandatory scheme or the additional licensing scheme should also have a licence.

By way of justification, the council says it is proposing this “having considered problems of anti-social behaviour, poor housing condition, inward migration, deprivation and crime in the borough.”

Meanwhile new planning restrictions for HMOs are also being considered in Bexley.

The council has launched a consultation on proposals to remove permitted development rights on the conversion of single family homes into HMOs with between three and six residents - adding to the existing system where HMOs with seven or more occupants already require planning permission.

The council claims there is growing concern about a rise in the number of houses in the borough being converted to HMOs. An Article 4 Direction will mean the removal of this Permitted Development Right, making it easier for the council to monitor - and if it wishes, refuse - further conversions.

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