Hounslow council wants its additional licensing scheme for HMOs - due to expire in May 2019 - to be extended for another five-year period.
“The extension of the scheme will enable the council to continue to improve housing standards in the private rented market and will help to tackle rogue landlords” says the authority, which is now consulting on the idea.
The proposed borough-wide scheme covers a greater number and type of HMOs than both the national mandatory licensing scheme and the council’s existing scheme.
The scheme will apply to shared HMOs with three or more persons. The previous two-storey requirement has been removed and single-story HMOs will be included.
Rented properties that are subdivided into self-contained units without the appropriate Building Regulation requirements will also be included.
Under the current mandatory licensing scheme, the council is unable to exercise licensing controls over poorly converted privately rented flats.
The council claims that the proposal of the additional licensing scheme would introduce higher standards and conditions to strengthen the council’s powers to eliminate dangerous and overcrowded accommodation and bring rogue landlords to account.
“This will include larger room sizes, limits on the numbers of people sharing facilities, higher standards for property maintenance, tenancy management and controlling antisocial behaviour” says the council in a statement.
A spokesman says: “People who live in HMO's are often the most vulnerable in society and with some landlords face uncertain, overcrowded and sometimes dangerous conditions. Through this additional licencing scheme, we seek to put in place further regulations to continue to protect the living conditions of private renters in the borough. Landlords who fail to maintain a good standard of accommodation would be required to bring their properties up to scratch in line with the proposed regulations. We will come down hard on those that don't and will prosecute where necessary.”
The consultation closes on April 3.