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Private rented property sector licensing schemes set for cabinet debate

Published on:

14 January 2020

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Housing conditions for thousands of private rented sector tenants will be improved if Enfield Council’s Cabinet approves the introduction of licensing schemes on 22 January.

Housing conditions for thousands of private rented sector tenants will be improved if Enfield Council’s Cabinet approves the introduction of licensing schemes on 22 January.

The Council’s Cabinet will decide whether to introduce a Selective Licensing Scheme in 14 wards and a borough wide Additional Licensing Scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to raise housing conditions and standards of property management, act on factors that make deprivation worse and to reduce antisocial behaviour.

The private rented sector has grown rapidly in recent years, making up as much as 34 per cent of households in Enfield*. While many landlords are doing the right thing for their tenants the Council continues to see reports of landlords who allow their homes to fall into disrepair or whose properties are unsafe and who fail to address problems such as anti-social behaviour.

Research also shows that providing good quality accommodation has a huge, positive impact on health, mental wellbeing and educational attainment.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Licensing & Regulatory Services, Cllr George Savva, said: “If approved, the Council will be intervening in the private rental sector to improve tens of thousands of private tenants’ quality of life, helping to tackle deprivation and drive up housing standards across the borough.

“Our intervention will make sure every renter has a decent, warm, property in a good state of repair to call home. Living in good quality housing shouldn’t be a privilege, it should be a basic human right.

“Enfield Council aims to work with landlords to support a private rented sector that is stable, fair and accountable.”

The Council will not forget its own role which is why it has agreed to invest £40 million to improve its own housing stock. This investment will put in place mechanisms to ensure its housing is well-maintained so that residents feel secure in their homes.

The Cabinet will meet to consider the proposals following an extensive 13-week consultation where the majority of respondents agreed with both licensing schemes and the suggested licence conditions, and thought the suggested fees were reasonable.

If approved, licences will cost £600 per property for a selective licence and £900 per property for an additional (HMO) licence, for up to five years. The Council will have better inspection and enforcement capabilities and will introduce penalties for breaches of housing legislation, with maximum fines of £30,000 for the most severe cases. There will also be enhanced resources to report sub-standard properties and to support tenants and landlords, such as tenancy relations officers and ASB officers. The schemes if implemented as proposed will be cost neutral.

*According to Metastreet predictions for Enfield’s housing market in 2019.