Landlords with properties in Hackney and Tower Hamlets will now have to hold a licence before they can let out their homes. These licences require landlords to keep their homes in good condition and ensure high standards of management, or risk enforcement from the Council.
Do I need a licence?
You will need to hold a licence if you own and let out a property housing 3 or more tenants that form more than 2 separate households. For example If you have you have a 2 bedroom apartment where occupied by a couple and their friend you will need a licence. This is known as an Additional Licence.
There is also what’s known as Selective Licence. Properties located in a specific area will need a licence regardless of the number of occupants or size of the property. Homes in the following areas will need to apply:
Hackney - the Brownswood, Cazenove or Stoke Newington wards
Tower Hamlets – Spitalfields & Banglatown, Weavers & Whitechapel
What if I don't hold a licence or don't comply with the licensing conditions?
If you don't comply with the conditions of your licence, or don't hold the correct licence for a home you are renting out, you will face enforcement from the Council. This could include a financial penalty notice of up to £30,000 or an unlimited fine from the court.
It will be a criminal offence to operate an unlicensed property, punishable by prosecution through the Magistrate Court and an unlimited fine. The Council can also issue Financial Penalties of up to £30,000. It is also worth noting you will be unable to evict tenants using a section 21 notice and your tenants will be able to apply for a rent repayment order – meaning you will be required to repay all the rent they have paid in the last 12 months.
What if I am based outside the UK?
Councils prefer licence holders to be resident in the UK, and will only accept applications for licences from non-UK residents if they have a UK-based managing agent who contractually agrees to be bound by the conditions and obligations imposed by the licence, and signs a declaration to confirm this.
Applications from limited companies will only be accepted from companies with a UK registered office, and the licence will be in the company name.
If you are unsure whether your property will need a licence or would like further information on how to apply please speak to our management team today.