We asked, you said, we did
We asked for your views on our consultation on proposed private rented property licensing schemes. Options considered were re-introducing a borough-wide additional licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and three separate selective licensing schemes for other privately rented properties in a total of nine wards.
We received 466 online responses to the questionnaire and nine written responses via email. We also held three events for those interested in participating, with tenants, homeowners, landlords and managing agents, with 29 people attending. In summary:
- overall 53% supported the re-introduction of additional licensing
- overall 40% supported the selective licensing schemes
- for both types of scheme respondents renting their home and owner occupiers were more inclined to support the proposals than landlords and letting agents.
There were also several comments made by respondents completing the questionnaire, in written responses and at the consultation events in relation to the proposals:
- one comment suggested the additional licensing scheme should only be for a smaller area of the borough, in 4 wards with the most HMOs
- one comment suggested that a smaller selective licensing scheme should be implemented, rather than three schemes
- one comment suggested that the inclusion of areas that have recently been regenerated in the Colindale area was not warranted
- one comment was received that for what are known as section 257 HMOs, the scheme should only apply to buildings where all the flats are rented
- various comments were made about the detail of the licence conditions to be applied to the schemes
- comments, mainly from landlords were made that the schemes are not necessary
- some consultees thought the schemes were a money-making exercise
- some consultees thought that the schemes would penalise responsible landlords
- some comments were made that the costs would be passed onto tenants
- one respondent thought references should not be required from prospective tenants
- some landlords thought they should not be responsible for their tenant’s behaviour
- those in favour of the schemes tended not to make further comment as to why they supported them
- attendees at the forums did report concerns about poor accommodation and amenities and landlords not acting on issues raised
- some attendees thought there was a lot of sub-letting and overcrowding leading to a lack of control by landlords
- some attendees said anti-social behaviour is a big problem for tenants
- some tenants felt unsupported by the council
- some tenants felt that rental costs are high but poor value for money
- some landlords said that they want to know everything is okay so that tenants do not need to contact them.
In response to the comments made, some of the proposals have been amended.
- for the borough-wide additional licensing scheme we reviewed all our data against the new ward boundaries, (the data had only been available against the old ward boundaries at the time of consultation). We concluded that there remains a case for a borough-wide additional licensing scheme, as there are many potential HMOs spread right across the borough that have not previously applied for a licence
- we also reviewed the data for the selective licensing proposals and have decided that only Designation A (for Burnt Oak, Colindale North and Colindale South) will go forward for designation at this time. We intend to use the updated data to draw up new proposals for a further selective licensing consultation, probably later in 2022
- we have decided to exclude certain regeneration and new development areas from the scope of the selective licensing scheme for Burnt Oak, Colindale North and Colindale South so that the many new properties in those areas will not require a licence
- we revised the scope of the additional licensing scheme such that only buildings converted into flats, where all the flats are privately rented will require a licence
- we took on board various comments relating to the licence conditions and have amended them accordingly, where we thought this was appropriate.
The final proposals were considered by the Housing and Growth Committee on 17 February 2022. The amended proposals described above were agreed and the borough-wide additional licensing scheme is now likely to come into operation from July 2022. The designation will likely be made in April and applications for licences from landlords and agents can be made from April. The selective licensing Designation A is likely to come into operation in January 2023. The designation will likely be made in October 2022. Applications from landlords and agents for both schemes can be made from the date that the designation is signed.
A further consultation will be launched for selective licensing in some other wards in 2023. You can view the final report on the consultation and the summary of comments and the council’s response to them, as well as the final licensing designations once they are signed, on the council’s website Barnet Online.
Consultation has concluded