Islington says that because of Coronavirus it does now know when its new HMO and Selective Licensing schemes will come into force but that they will ‘level the playing field’ for landlords.

Islington Council has given the go-ahead for two new property licensing schemes with the hope of improving conditions in the private rented sector.

It’s approved both a borough-wide additional HMO licensing scheme and a selective licensing scheme to cover all properties in the Finsbury Park ward that aren’t already covered by a scheme.

A council spokesman tells LandlordZONE that no start date has been agreed due to the COVID-19 crisis. He says: “At this stage the decision has been made by the executive in principle but no start dates have been discussed so any instigation wouldn’t be in the near future.”

HMOs have some of Islington’s poorest housing standards and many conversions don’t meet fire safety standards; Finsbury Park ward has the highest number of complaints about private rented property in the borough and it believes many people there face higher levels of deprivation, and are at greater risk of being taken advantage of by rogue landlords.

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Islington Council says the schemes benefit responsible landlords by levelling the playing field, ensuring rogue landlords who avoid paying out for repairs aren’t saving money by renting properties in poor condition.

Councillor Diarmaid Ward, executive member for housing and development, says: “There are a great number of responsible landlords in the borough, and these licensing schemes will help the council to ensure that those conscientious landlords are rewarded, while rogue operators offering poor conditions are more easily identified.”  

However, the National Residential Landlords Association warns the schemes could lead to rent increases while criminal landlords might simply ignore them, as they do other regulations. In its response to the consultation, the association pointed out that the council already has sufficient enforcement powers to raise standards.

Read more about licensing during Coronavirus.

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