Croydon Council has applied for government consent to renew the borough’s landlord licensing scheme that makes sure privately-let properties meet key housing standards.
More than 48,500 properties are covered by the council’s existing borough-wide scheme, which was launched in October 2015 with a view to ensuring private landlords meet a range of housing, environmental and safety standards.
The scheme requires all private landlords to hold a Croydon property licence and to meet certain requirements, including landlord inspections every six months, safety measures such as fire alarms, and giving tenants a proper tenancy agreement.
Cllr Alison Butler, Croydon Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services, said: “Our landlord licensing scheme has made a positive difference to the lives of thousands of private tenants across the borough, and the proposals we’ve now submitted to government are about building on this crucial work for another five years.”
Under the scheme, the council claims that it has resolved thousands of incidents with landlords without needing further action, inspected more than 13,000 properties, served over 1,000 enforcement notices, issued 75 prohibition orders, and fined or prosecuted over 40 landlords.
Ahead of the current five-year scheme expiring on 30 September, Croydon Council carried out formal public consultation between December and March on three options for a renewed scheme. The option now submitted to the government would see the scheme cover the whole borough, targeting antisocial behaviour in six wards in the south and poor housing conditions in 22 wards mainly in the north and centre of the borough.
Under legislation introduced since Croydon’s existing scheme came into force, final government permission is now needed for any new licensing scheme if it covers more than 20% of the private rented sector or 20% of the geographical area of a borough.
The standard cost for a five-year licence would remain at £750, with discounts available including a £350 fee for current licence holders. Under the existing scheme, over 80% of applicants paid a reduced fee. Under the proposed scheme, licences would continue to last five years. If there were concerns with a landlord, they would be issued a single-year licence and have twice-yearly inspections and an annual licence review.
Butler added: “The importance of having a decent, safe and secure home has become even clearer since the pandemic lockdown, and it underlines why we need the government to approve our scheme so we can continue to raise living standards in Croydon.”