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Harold Hill and Romford could be earmarked for new landlord licensing scheme

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 January 2017

Havering Town Hall

Havering Town Hall

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Plans to better monitor private landlords and crack down on anti-social behaviour in HMOs are back on the agenda at a council meeting tonight (Wednesday).

Havering Council’s Cabinet is expected to discuss a proposal to introduce two licensing schemes, which would give the council more enforcement powers.

The implementation of the schemes will enable the council to investigate reported problems and who is responsible for the day to day management of the property.

It would also give the council enforcement powers such as compliance inspections and audit checks of the licensing conditions.

The proposal is an initial discussion and, if approved, would see the launch of an informal four-week consultation followed by a formal consultation.

Plans include an additional licensing schemes for landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and a selective scheme for landlords of non-HMO in Harold Hill and Romford.

A council report notes more people moved into residential accommodation in Havering in 2015 than in any other London borough, which led to a rise in the number of privately rented properties and HMOs.

Today, about 17 per cent of the borough’s housing stock is privately rented.

The report adds: “The introduction of these property licensing schemes will enable a significant change in the way that anti-social behaviour and poor management associated with some of the private rented sector is tackled.”

The proposed plans aim to improve the condition and management practices of properties and better protect vulnerable tenants living in HMOs, reduce anti-social behaviour and create stronger links between the council and local landlords.

But for a selective licensing scheme to be approved for non-HMO, the council need to demonstrate that the area is likely to become an area of low housing demand, that it is experiencing persistent anti-social behaviour problems, that is has poor property conditions and high levels of deprivation and crime.

An investigation by the council found a number of HMOs were being managed “ineffectively” and some failed to meet minimum expected standards.

If approved, the plans could be implemented as soon as September 2017.

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