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London council sweeps 20,000 rented properties into licencing

lewisham landlords selective licencing

Landlords in Lewisham are the latest within London to face a selective licencing scheme now that permission has been granted by the Secretary of State for the scheme.

Some 20,000 rented homes are to be swept up into the scheme, which will start on the 1st of July next year and is expected to charge fees of up to £750 per property for the five years it is due to run.

Lewisham had originally wanted to licence 32,000 properties but this appears to have been reduced by the Secretary of State.

The scheme, which has been under consideration since March this year and was originally revealed in 2019 but delayed by the pandemic, is in addition to the council’s existing HMO licencing scheme. This was introduced first following the relaxation of Covid rules.

Quality

In its selective application, the council said it wanted to use selective licencing to improve the quality and management of privately rented accommodation in the borough.

To obtain a licence, landlords must ensure properties meet minimum health and safety standards and “those who fail to fulfil their statutory responsibilities, such as carrying out repairs in a timely fashion, will be subject to enforcement action from the Council,” its announcement says.

Cllr Will Cooper (pictured), Cabinet Member for Housing Management and Homelessness, says: "With 1 in 4 households in Lewisham renting privately, improving standards in the private rented sector is a vital part of our work to tackle the housing crisis.

“Our new licensing scheme will help ensure private rented properties are fit for purpose and empower us to take action against those landlords who fail to fulfil their responsibilities.”

Further information will be shared with landlords in the coming months about how to apply for a licence prior to the scheme coming into effect.

Areas covered include Brockley, Catford, South Lewisham, Central New Cross, Perry Vale, Rushey Green, Crofton Park, Evelyn, Ladywell, Lee Green, Sydenham, Bellingham, Downham, Forest Hill, Grove Park and Whitefoot.

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