The claim comes from Richard Tacagni, managing director of the independent consultancy, London Property Licensing and reported by the Residential Landlord’s Association (RLA).
All landlords of bedsits above shops in the London borough could be hit with the licensing fee rise, with each bedroom licence to cost £500.
Mr Tacagni says that the new HMO fee being brought in by Lewisham Council will be by far the highest in London, and the highest probably in England.
The new fee was agreed by the council as part of the additional licensing scheme which is expected to be implemented by this autumn, and covering all Houses in Multiple Occupation above commercial premises in the borough.
The new scheme will require licensing of around 1,800 properties, containing some 4,200 separate lettings. According to Tacagni, Lewisham Council has confirmed that any flat shared by three or more people who are not all related will need a licence if there are commercial premises on a lower floor in the building. The fee will be £500 per unit.
“Whilst a £500 licence fee may at first appear reasonable, we understand that this is actually the fee per letting within a property, i.e. a single person occupying one room on a separate tenancy.
“The council have said that the fee would be capped at £5,000 per property for ten or more lettings.
“This dramatic increase in fees will see the existing mandatory HMO licensing fee rise from £180 (frozen since 2012) to £500 per letting, an increase of 278%.
“The fee to license an HMO with five individual room lets would rise from £900 to £2,500.”
A Lewisham Council spokesperson told the RLA:
“We are committed to ensure that Lewisham has a thriving private rented market that provides good quality housing for tenants and that landlords are fully supported to maintain good standards in their properties.
“This licensing scheme is a key tool in achieving this.
“We have set the fee to ensure that we fully meet the costs of running an effective licensing scheme that is good for tenants and good for responsible landlords.
“We have a range of qualifying discounts and reductions that will continue.
“All the income raised will be reinvested in this scheme to improve the private rented sector in Lewisham, which is huge and growing every day”
Lewisham Licensing Fees to increase by 278% https://t.co/wfihjPYcB7
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) June 10, 2016