Landlords in the area will once more have to pay a registration fee of £650 per property if it’s within 18 of the borough’s 20 wards.
Private landlords in Waltham Forest face selective licencing regulation until 2025 after its council gained government approval to renew its selective licensing scheme.
This means they will have to once more register their property and pay a registration fee every five years from May 1st onwards.
With more than a third of residents in the area renting privately and with over 8,000 rented homes containing ‘significant hazards’, the council hopes licensing will also help it to deal with landlords who exploit vulnerable tenants by letting out overcrowded, unsuitable, and dangerous properties.
The current selective licencing scheme, which has been running since 2015, incensed many landlords when it raised its registration fee from £500 to £650 in 2016 making it, at the time, one of the most expensive in the UK.
Councillor Louise Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness Prevention, says: “Our message to these rogue landlords is clear: If you want to rent property out in Waltham Forest, your property must meet the licensing scheme’s standards and you must ensure that your tenants are safe. If you don’t, we will find out and take action against you.”
The selective licensing scheme ensures landlords meet licence conditions such as taking fire safety precautions, ensuring properties aren’t dangerous and that they are properly managed. The licence also makes landlords responsible for dealing with anti-social behaviour quickly, with fines of up to £30,000 for failing to comply.
Since the select licensing began, Waltham Forest Council has issued more than 27,000 property licences, 149 civil penalties, 50 interim management orders.
It has also improved 3,100 privately rented properties and pursued 94 successful prosecutions. Its new selective licensing scheme will cover 18 out of 20 wards (excluding Hatch Lane and Endlebury) and starts on 1 May 2020.
Other local councils have been less successful in winning government approval, as this week Liverpool City Council’s plans to continue its private landlord licensing scheme for another five years were rejected.