New legislation announced last week which could mean up to 300 more properties in Hertsmere will need to be licensed has been welcomed by community leaders.
Under the government’s measures, which are likely to come into force in April, landlords who own flats or properties of one storey or more occupied by five or more people in more than one household, will need to apply to us for a house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence, or potentially face criminal prosecution and a fine of thousands of pounds. Previously only landlords with properties of three or more stories required the licence.
The change in law, subject to parliamentary clearance, comes after the council successfully prosecuted a Potters Bar landlord for failing to get a licence for a house of multiple occupancy for five years. He was fined £7,000 by a magistrate last month.
Councillor Jean Heywood, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “As a council, our ambition is to see that every one of our residents lives in safe, secure and decent homes.
“That is why we already work closely with social landlords and a large number of private sector landlords across the borough to ensure their properties are meeting basic living standards.
“These new measures will enable us to protect more tenants in the private sector and prevent overcrowding.
“While we anticipate that the vast majority of landlords will want to work with us to look after their tenants, anyone who fails to comply could face criminal prosecution, like the landlord we recently took to the court.”
The new legislation, announced on Thursday 28 December by Housing Minister Alok Sharma, also means anyone who has been convicted of offences such as burglary and stalking will be added to a national database of rogue landlords and barred from renting out properties.
In addition, minimum size requirements for bedrooms will come into force, as part of the new licensing requirements, to ensure tenants will only be offered rooms large enough for sleeping.
Find out more about the changes and how to apply for an HMO licence here or contact our private sector housing officer on 020 8207 2277.
Regular Landlords' Forums for participants with properties across Hertsmere, are held throughout the year, organised by the council and the National Landlords Association (NLA).
Posted on Friday 5th January 2018