Landlords must pay well over £700 for entry into what is now the UK’s largest ever HMO licensing scheme, at Westminster in central London.
Some £705 is payable on application for the five-year long scheme and then £270 once the application is approved - landlords who pay upfront get both fees combined for £795.
A higher fee is charged for HMOs classified by Westminster council as Section 257s - buildings that have been converted into flats where more than a third of the flats are rented out, or where the building does not comply with the 1991 Building Regulations or later regulations that applied if the building was converted after June 1 1992.
A 10 per cent fee reduction is available for those in the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme.
Westminster council’s scheme will focus on the 9,000-plus HMOs across the whole of the central London borough; smaller house and flat shares will now require a licence if they are occupied by three or more people forming more than one household.
Westminster claims that a recent study found that poor housing standards are far more likely to be found in the HMO sector, with the council having to make 25,341 interventions between 2016 and 2018.
The new policy will set a common standard across the borough, raising housing standards and supporting residents.
The main aims of the licensing scheme include increasing housing standards for HMOs, providing minimum standards for properties and selectively targeting interventions at properties affected by “poor tenancy management, the need for repairs, fire safety hazard, and anti-social behaviour.”
The council says the scheme will also protect tenants “from the negative social and health effects of poorly managed and maintained properties, and reducing inequality of housing.”
Westminster councillor Heather Acton says: “We want to ensure our residents and communities are living in the highest standards possible in Westminster. The Additional Licensing Scheme gives us a greater ability to monitor and regulate this specific part of the housing sector.
“The scheme puts the safety of our residents first, protecting private rented tenants living in shared properties from poorly managed and badly maintained housing.
“This helps Westminster have good accommodation so that it is a diverse and desirable place where people want to live. It will help the sector create sustainable tenancies with empowered tenants and reputable landlords.”
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