A London council is issuing a stern warning to landlords: apply for a licence within the next nine days or risk severe penalties. Newham council has set a deadline at the end of August for landlords to obtain a mandatory Selective Licence; failing to do so could result in unlimited fines or even loss of property control.
The recently launched Selective Licensing scheme, initiated on June 1, will intensify inspection and enforcement activities in September to combat unlicensed properties. Violating landlords could face financial penalties up to £30,000 or court-imposed unlimited fines. Additionally, control of properties might be revoked, and landlords could be compelled to repay up to 12 months’ rent to the Council or tenants.
A council representative stated: “Tenants in Newham deserve secure, well-administered, and properly maintained residences, a goal achieved through our innovative Selective Licensing initiative. I appreciate the landlords who have successfully obtained licenses, and urge those yet to apply to do so promptly. Our teams will be active in September, inspecting unlicensed properties, so I urge unlicensed landlords to apply promptly.”
Newham’s previous licensing programme, which ended in February 2023, licensed 42,000 properties, with 70% undergoing officer visits or audits. Between 2018 and July 2023, over 2,620 licence breach investigations occurred, resulting in 387 financial penalty notices and fines ranging from £5,000 to £30,000. A total of 6,447 enforcement letters were dispatched.
The council’s statement continues: “Selective Licensing is the sole proactive legal measure enabling councils to inspect and ensure proper management of privately rented properties. Newham employs it to enhance housing repairs, fire safety, address anti-social behaviour, and ensure responsible landlords receive support, countering unscrupulous practices.”
Amidst regulatory measures, a spokesperson from Newham council highlighted their dedication to ensuring tenants reside in secure and well-maintained homes, a central focus of the innovative Selective Licensing initiative. The council expressed gratitude to compliant landlords who obtained licenses while urging prompt action from those yet to do so. With upcoming intensified inspection and enforcement activities in September, the council aims to pinpoint unlicensed properties and promote swift adherence.
The significance of Newham’s previous licensing endeavour is noteworthy. Concluding in February 2023, the initiative licensed a substantial 42,000 properties, with an impressive 70% undergoing thorough officer visits or audits, reflecting strong commitment to standards and accountability.
A closer examination of enforcement practices underscores the thoroughness applied to breaches. Between 2018 and July 2023, a remarkable 2,620 investigations into licence violations were undertaken, resulting in 387 financial penalty notices with fines spanning £5,000 to £30,000. This was accompanied by an impressive 6,447 enforcement letters, affirming the council’s steadfast dedication to upholding regulatory expectations.
The council’s emphasis on Selective Licensing’s role as a proactive legal tool is pivotal. Beyond ensuring equitable treatment for responsible landlords, it functions as a potent mechanism to elevate housing standards, reinforce fire safety measures, and counteract anti-social conduct. The licensing strategy aligns with the overarching objective of fostering a secure, harmonious environment for both tenants and landlords.
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