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Havering Council set to greenlight HMO licensing scheme to crack down on rogue private landlords

PUBLISHED: 12:30 04 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:52 04 October 2017

Romford Town centre. Havering Town Hall

Romford Town centre. Havering Town Hall

Archant

A plan that would see landlords have to pay almost £1,000 to register their properties with Havering Council is set to be discussed by councillors next week.

Havering Council is set to approve an additional licensing scheme that would see landlords in 12 wards have to purchase a licence to crack down on poor housing conditions and anti-social behaviour in areas where there are large numbers of houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs).

The 12 wards identified by the council are: Brooklands, Mawneys, Elm Park, Pettits, Gooshays, Rainham & Wennington, Harold Wood, Romford Town, Havering Park,

South Hornchurch, Heaton and Squirrels Heath.

Under the scheme, landlords in those areas would purchase five-year licenses for their properties, paid for in two parts, which would cost £900 in total – although a discounted fee of £762.50 is available for those who sign up before the end of February.

This licence could be revoked if the council receives complaints about the management, use or maintenance of the property.

A council report to be debated by cabinet members next Wednesday states: “The introduction of a suitable licensing scheme 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.

“Through licensing, the council will know who is responsible for the management of properties that are rented out and who is responsible for dealing with problems associated with the dwelling.”

Research conducted by the council predicts there may be as many as 1,200 HMOs in Havering – which would represent 7pc of all the borough’s privately rented homes.

This revelation is partly what has led to the new scheme being drawn up, as council officers are only currently aware of 300, but believe there could be as many as 800 in the 12 proposed wards alone.

A public consultation on the plans ran from May 19 to July 28 this year, and found that more than 70pc of replies agreed that HMOs were “contributing to the decline of some areas of Havering”.

Nearly three quarters (74pc) of people asked agreed with the 12-ward scheme, but 19pc of those polled said such a move was unnecessary.

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