Shocking researches: 75% of HMO properties in London operate without licence

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There are over 130,000 unlicensed properties in London, show the Safeagent’s researches and says that the system is not fit for purpose.

Licensing schemes are failing London’s tenants because councils are having tonnes of paperwork. New research for Safeagent made by London Property Licensing discovered 130,000 unlicensed properties in London which supposed to be licensed under either selective, additional or mandatory HMO licensing schemes.
Whereas the mandatory HMO licensing applies in England, additional and selective licensing schemes are introduced on a Borough by Borough basis.


However, non-compliance in the capital is wide. Licence applications only cover 25% of 138,500 private rented houses that require licensing – without a licence approved, these properties are being operated illegally – landlords – and their letting or managing agent, can be fined of up to £30,000.

From October 2018, the mandatory HMO licensing scheme is required for most HMOs shared by five or more people. In some boroughs, HMO licence is required for properties rented to just three or four unrelated people.

Another confusing thing is, that many London Boroughs are having a hard time to process over 24,000 licence applications.

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Safeagent CEO, Isobel Thomson, said: “The results of the survey are concerning. Consumers are not being well served and indeed many are being placed at risk through this mishmash of licensing schemes.

“Right now, the system isn’t fit for purpose and Councils are drowning in paperwork. Landlords needing property licences are either deliberately evading the schemes or are in the dark concerning their legal responsibilities and tenants are being placed at risk.

“If the compliance rate for HMO licensing schemes is only 25%, how can these schemes be effective? Ultimately this is about the proper use of public money and consumer protection.
Where are the assessment procedures for Councils who have schemes in place? Isn’t it time we went back to the drawing board to come up with a simple, streamlined system that works for all?”


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