21 Sep 2022

‘Enough is enough’ – Another council crackdown on HMOs revealed

Another council has revealed that it is going to clamp down on substandard HMOs in its area with the council leader telling the meeting, ‘Enough is enough’.

The plan for bringing in a second Additional Licensing Scheme has been agreed for landlords whose properties are occupied by three or more unrelated people and they will now have to pay for a licence that will set out the conditions that have to be met.

The new licensing scheme will begin in July in five areas of Walsall and accredited landlords will have to fork out £850, while unaccredited landlords will need to pay £1,065.

The areas covered by the scheme are Bentley and Darlaston North, Blakenall, Birchills Leamore, Darlaston South and Willenhall South.

Phase one of the licensing scheme for landlords

The council approved phase one of the licensing scheme for landlords last October and it covers Paddock, Palfrey, Pleck and St Matthews.

Mike Bird, Walsall’s council leader, said it was a ‘fact’ that some landlords had obtained licences for their HMOs which they should not have received which has led to substandard accommodation.

He told the meeting that growing numbers of landlords are now creating HMOs and council officers will carry out ‘vigilant investigation’ and landlords will have to ‘seek the required planning permission’.

‘More and more people are saying enough is enough’

He added: “More and more people are saying enough is enough and we have to look at a cumulative impact policy of the amount of HMOs coming forward.

“Yes, we all appreciate people want housing, but they should not have substandard housing.”

Mr Bird also said that he was proud of the professional approach taken by licensing officers to ensure that those who are not eligible for a licence don’t get one.

Previously, Coun Gaz Ali had told the meeting that the scheme is aimed at those areas with a high number of HMOs in a ‘serious state of disrepair’.

New scheme will improve standards

He added that there was evidence of poor management, and the new scheme will improve standards in those properties and, he told councillors, that a consultation had already taken place and it was longer than the law demands.

Councillors heard the new scheme will open for applications from March 2023 and landlords will have four months to get a licence for their HMO.

Coun Ali pointed out that from July, legal action can start against those landlords without a licence.

Coun Flint also told the meeting that eight out of 10 people who had responded to the consultation believed there should be more control over how landlords and agents manage their properties.

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