Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation

Closes 27 Dec 2019

Opened 18 Oct 2019

Overview

Hounslow Council's additional licensing scheme for privately rented Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) expired in May 2019. We propose to introduce another additional licensing scheme in Hounslow to enable the council to effectively regulate these properties and to help tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) associated with HMOs.

We encourage you to read the background information below about the proposals before responding. The following documents can be downloaded at the bottom of the page:

  • Evidence Base to designate a borough wide Additional Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing Scheme in the London Borough of Hounslow
  • Hounslow Council – Proposed Conditions for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) licensed under part 2 Housing Act 2004.
  • Hounslow Council – Proposed HMO Licence fees. Under Government legislation, many HMOs are required to hold a property licence.
  • January 2019 Cabinet Report
  • October 2019 Single Member Decision Report

This ‘Mandatory HMO Licensing’ applies to houses, individual converted flats and some purpose-built flats that accommodate 5 or more tenants forming two or more households where they share bathroom, toilet and kitchen facilities. Local authorities can also require that other HMOs are licensed by designating an additional Licensing scheme that covers all or part of their area.

Our Proposals

The new proposed borough-wide scheme will cover a greater number and type of HMOs than the national mandatory licensing scheme and the previous scheme which expired in May 2019.

The new proposal is to include:

  • All HMOs with 3 or more persons living as two or more households where they share bathroom, toilet and kitchen facilities; and
  • HMOs, as defined in section 257 of the Housing Act 2004, ie buildings that are converted entirely into self-contained flats where the conversion did not comply, and still does not comply, with the standards of the 1991 Building Regulations, but only where all the units are privately rented, and where the building and all the dwellings in the building are either in the same ownership or considered by the housing authority to be effectively in the same control.

Reasons for proposals

The council recognises the need to encourage more privately-rented homes to help meet housing demand whilst at the same time strengthen regulation of private rented housing, and support those based in this sector who are either vulnerable or struggling. The proposed additional licensing underpins the council’s priorities for “good homes and pleasant neighbourhoods” and “a clean, attractive borough”.

Many landlords operating in the borough take their responsibilities very seriously and provide well managed, rented homes that are maintained to a good standard. However, there are widespread issues of disrepair and housing hazards in the private rented sector and poorly-managed properties giving rise to significant ASB problems.

We believe that the extension of additional licensing will help us to continue with the positive changes that we have already seen and continue to improve housing conditions and management in the private rented market and will support us to tackle rogue landlords.

More information about the impact of the previous scheme and the evidence for new schemes is available in the evidence pack, which can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Other Options to Additional Licensing for HMOs

We feel that removing additional licensing will result in a two-tier system for regulation and create inequality in the protections offered to residents. Ultimately we believe this will be a barrier to improving conditions in HMOs more generally. More information about the alternatives considered can be found in the evidence pack document, which can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Why We Are Consulting

The consultation questionnaire seeks your views about our proposals to extend additional HMO licensing for a further 5 years, our objectives, our proposed licence conditions, our proposed licencing fees and the alternatives that could be considered.

Give Us Your Views

Areas

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