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Big London council to begin regulation for over 8,500 HMO properties

Wandsworth Council is to launch a consultation into borough-wide additional licensing and a selective licensing scheme in three of its wards.

The proposed selective scheme covers an estimated 8,600 properties in Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway and Furzedown, where it predicts a prevalence of the most serious housing hazards.

It says it could then investigate expanding the scheme across other areas with the Secretary of State’s approval.

Wandsworth has had a mandatory HMO licensing scheme since 2006, under which 615 licensed properties are on the HMO register.

The council reports that the five-person threshold means some landlords opt to reduce occupancy levels to avoid licensing and the increased scrutiny it delivers.

Grown rapidly

The PRS makes up more than 30% of housing in the borough and has grown rapidly in recent years, partly due to the unaffordability of home ownership in Wandsworth, with the average house price now topping £650,000.

Meanwhile, it has seen a steady increase in the number of service requests made by private sector housing tenants reporting disrepair issues each year, up from 449 in 2017 to 742 in 2021.

Aydin Dikerdem (pictured), cabinet member for housing, says: “The schemes we are proposing would mean that the council is able to take more robust action on sub-standard homes and increase the support available to tenants – improving standards in the private rental market and creating a fairer borough for everyone.”

After the 12-week consultation, its housing committee will decide whether to implement the schemes.


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