The selective licensing scheme operated by Newham council in London is reported to have won government backing to be extended until 2023.
The website London Property Licensing says it understands the backing has been won from the Department for Communities and Local Government after a lengthy wait.
Newham has been regarded as the local authority with, historically, the strongest policing of its licensing policies; the council’s figures show that more than 1,215 landlords have been prosecuted and 28 of the worst offenders have been banned. A total of 25 letting agents have been subject to penalty charge notices or other legal action and more than £2.8m in council tax has been recovered.
The council has also announced plans to rate all letting agents from zero to five stars (where five is the best), and then publish the list in full on the council’s website.
However, there has been substantial delay in securing government consent for the licensing scheme to be continued; however, LPL says this has now been given, although to date no formal confirmation has been issued by the DCLG or the council.
LPL suggests that the existing selective licensing scheme expires on December 31 and that, because of the delay in the government go-ahead, the new scheme will not start until March 2018.
LPL also reports that to coincide with renewal of the selective licensing scheme, the council have decided to increase the application fee by 60 per cent to £800 per property.
“This will become the highest selective licensing fee in London” the site claims.