A London council will introduce two new licensing schemes in the New Year.
These make it a legal requirement for landlords to obtain a licence to operate any house in multiple occupation anywhere in Ealing, or to let a home in five selected wards of the borough.
Following a public consultation earlier this year, the new additional and selective licensing schemes will both come into force for a five year period from January 1. At the moment only certain larger HMOs in Ealing are covered by the existing mandatory licensing scheme.
The new additional licensing scheme will apply to all HMOs that are two storeys or more and occupied by four or more people but not covered by the mandatory scheme.
In addition, the new selective licensing will apply to all privately rented homes in the wards of Acton Central, East Acton, South Acton, Southall Green and Southall Broadway.
To obtain a licence for five years, landlords or managing agents will be required to pay a licence fee for each rented property in the designated schemes. The additional licensing fee is £1,100 for each HMO plus £30 for each habitable room and the selective licensing fee is £500.
Failure to obtain a licence may result in prosecution and an unlimited fine.
Applicants who sign up between October 1 and December 31 may be eligible to receive a 25 per cent discount, while buy to let owners who are already members of a recognised landlord’s accreditation scheme may also qualify for a further discount of £75.
Ealing is one of the largest boroughs in London with more than 137,000 residential properties. Of these, around 36,000 are rented from private landlords. Census figures for 2011 showed that private renting increased by nearly 70 per cent over 10 years from 2001.
Under the new proposals a licensed landlord will also have to comply with several conditions relating to the management and condition of the property, including gas, electrical, fire safety and other facilities provided. A written tenancy agreement would be required and anti-social behaviour by tenants would not be permitted.