New landlord licensing scheme to raise private housing standards

Camden Council is introducing new licensing conditions for landlords of shared accommodation.

With a third of Camden households living in privately rented homes the move could benefit around 20,000 residents living in 8,000 homes. The new scheme will come into effect on 8 December 2015.

It will mean that landlords who rent out a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) must apply for a five-year licence. A licence will only be granted if a minimum set of standards for the property are met.

The Council aims to improve housing conditions and help good landlords to run successful businesses and provide a better service to their tenants. As part of Camden’s Private Rented Sector Housing Strategy, the scheme will tackle a range of health and safety issues, such as fire hazards, risk of falls, poor home security and excess cold – which is known to cause mould and damp.

We ran a two month consultation involving 1,400 people and over 70% agreed that a licensing scheme should be introduced. The proposals are in response to research with private renters and on property standards. The Council inspected 390 shared and unlicensed homes, and found two in five (44%) had at least one serious or other health and safety hazard.

A licensing scheme will not only improve housing conditions it will strengthen tenants’ rights if they have to challenge poor housing conditions. Camden already licenses 300 larger shared properties, and will now extended this to include an additional 8,000 Houses in Multiple Occupation, under an Additional licensing scheme. 

Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council
“We face a real housing crisis in Camden and need more ways to tackle it. Good quality, safe and affordable housing is so closely linked to quality of life and something that everybody has a right to expect.

“Too often private tenants are the ones that experience the worst housing conditions and that just isn’t fair, we are determined to make Camden a place for everyone.

“We understand that there are good landlords in Camden and we want to help everyone to become the best landlords they can; this scheme will help them to improve the service they give to their tenants.

“We are introducing licensing after residents called for us to do more to improve living standards, and by using feedback from 1,400 people who responded to our consultation, including 70% who were in favour of licensing.”
Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council
Cllr Pat Callaghan, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing
“Our licensing scheme will improve living conditions in thousands of homes for people across the borough.

“We’re licensing more landlords after tenants told us we could do more to improve living standards, and also due to the overwhelming support for the proposals from the 1,400 people who took part in our consultation.

“I’d like to thank everyone who responded. Your contributions will help us to improve living standards for more than 20,000 people renting privately in Camden.”
Cllr Pat Callaghan, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing