What licences do I need to rent out my property in London and why do I need them?
With each London borough operating different licensing rules it can be very confusing to know whether your property needs a licence and which particular licences are applicable to your property. It depends on a number of factors including;
- Where in London the property is located.
- Who lives at the property.
- How big the property is and how many storeys it has.
If your property is let to 5 or more tenants and has more than 3 floors it is likely you will need a 'mandatory' HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) licence. (See HMO Licensing). You may also find that other licences known as 'additional' and 'selective' licences are also required.
Depending on the area, these sorts of licences can apply to any and all properties regardless of the number of tenants. The website of the local council will be able to best guide you as to which licences you need for your property in any particular area.
Selective Property Licensing
Selective Licensing schemes have been implemented in many London boroughs and these can apply to almost all rented accommodation, not just HMOs. The councils say that the main aim of these schemes is to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Additional Property Licensing
Any council is also able to introduce ‘additional’ property licensing for HMOs that fall outside of the scope of mandatory HMO licensing. Currently about 1/3 of all London Boroughs have these licences in operation with many others due to follow suit so landlords and agents need to ensure that they are up to date with current licensing legislation.
Legislation and rules change regularly in the lettings market and councils are constantly tightening the rules on residential lettings to try and keep housing standards as high as possible in a difficult and busy market. Landlords need to keep on top of these changes to ensure their property is licensed in line with current rules or face possible fines and civil action. The maximum penalty for non-compliance has recently been increased to £30,000 and can result in a criminal conviction so all landlords are being urged to check that their property is licensed correctly. Read more about Property Licensing.
24th March 2016
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