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New private rental licensing regime set for HMOs above shops

A new scheme governing the letting out of residential property above retail premises is to be launched in September in the London borough of Lewisham. 

From September 23 the council is introducing an additional licensing scheme for what it calls “typically smaller houses in multiple occupation above commercial premises” to ensure they are appropriately managed “and result in the improved health and wellbeing of tenants living in these properties.”

The council claims that evidence shows that large houses in multiple occupation, which are already subject to mandatory licensing, provide more satisfactory housing than small HMOs - although the council has not set out the evidence it draws upon for this claim. 

Under the scheme any private landlord operating a private rented flat in multiple occupation above commercial premises will need to apply for a licence, show that they comply with the requirements of the licence and pay a fee. 

The authority says all income raised will be reinvested in the scheme to continue “to improve standards in the private rented sector.” 

If a landlord continues to operate a private letting without a licence then they will be liable for prosecution. They may also be liable for a Rent Repayment Order.


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