Landlords in a second London borough face blanket selective licensing of all buy to let properties in the wake of Newham’s trailblazing scheme registering 35,000 rental homes.
Councillors in neighbouring Waltham Forest have announced a consultation running until January 24, 2014 inviting comments about the proposal.
The borough has around 100,000 homes and reckons about a third are buy to let or houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
The selective licensing would expect to register between 30,000 and 35,000 rental properties at a cost of £500 for a five-year licence.
The council points out that no profits are allowed from licensing, so the costs would go towards managing the scheme.
“The most important issue for us is to reduce levels of antisocial behaviour and make Waltham Forest a safer place for residents and businesses in the area,” said a spokesman.
“The main areas we want to focus on are enviro-crime such as littering and dirty front gardens, antisocial behaviour such as playing loud music and using homes for illegal activities, and planning contraventions such as sub-standard conversions of homes.
“We also want to use licensing to drive up management standards generally for all private rented properties in the borough as our studies have shown that many tenants renting in the private sector are having to endure some of the worst housing conditions in the borough, such as serious overcrowding and living in unfit homes.”
If the licensing plan goes ahead, Waltham Forest will become the second blanket registration zone in the UK.
Newham’s scheme started in January 2013 and is said to be closely watched by a number of other councils considering similar plans.
Oxford has city-wide licensing for HMOs housing three or more tenants, while other cities, like Southampton and Nottingham are consulting on all HMOs in their areas.
“Before we make a decision we would like to hear the views of landlords, tenants and other businesses in the area,” said the spokesman.