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London council agrees new private rental 'standards charter'

A London council has agreed to implement a new ‘standards charter’ for the private rental sector from next month - in addition to existing landlord licensing schemes it operates.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council says the new charter “will set the bar for good practice and discourage bad landlords.”

The package of measures to be met by landlords - in addition to paying a fee of course - includes: 

- specific standards for licensed rental properties to ensure tenants are safe and problems to neighbours, such as rubbish, are managed. From January 2017 onwards anyone applying for a licence will need to meet the new standards;

- additional landlord licensing will require landlords across the borough to get a licence if they let a property occupied by at least three people who do not make up a single household and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet;

- selective licensing will require all landlords letting a property on named streets, where anti-social behaviour has been a problem, to get a licence;

- a rental charter to encourage landlords to commit to best practice in management, housing standards, living rent, charges, protecting tenants’ deposits and security of tenancies. The council claims that “this will attract tenants to choose charter landlords over other landlords”;

- a new social lettings agency to put potential renters in touch with the best local landlords who meet all the higher standards expected.

For additional and selective licences, landlords will pay a flat fee of £540 per licence that in most cases will last up to five years.  

There is a reduction of £50 per property for landlords who have signed up to the landlords’ rental charter or a reduction of £75 if the landlord is a member of a recognised landlord body.

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