An advice website claims that more than half of the privately rented properties in the selective licensing area imposed by a London council have not got the appropriate licence - four months after the scheme came into effect.
Research by London Property Licensing has found the problem in Tower Hamlets.
On October 1 last year the council introduced a selective licensing scheme in three wards in the west of the borough. The regime applies to all private rented homes within the boundaries whether they are houses or flats and are let to an individual, single family or are in multiple occupation. “There are very few exemptions” says the website.
The application fee is £520 to £660 per property and - in common with similar schemes across the country - until an application is submitted, the landlord and letting agent are committing an offence if they let a property in the selective licensing area, which covers an estimated 6,000 private rental units.
In response to a Freedom of Information request, Tower Hamlets council has told the website that by last month, only 2,100 applications had been received by the council of which 1,000 licences had already been approved.
“Based on the council’s own estimates, there could be around 3,900 private rented homes in the west of the borough where no selective licence application has yet been submitted – accounting for almost two thirds of all private rented homes in the area” says London Property Licensing.
The website says there are now 23 different property licensing schemes currently operating in London.
“The myriad of schemes operating across London is becoming a major headache for landlords and letting agents as they struggle to understand what rules apply where” says Richard Tacagni, London Property Licensing’s managing director.