10 Dec 2020

Havering council has agreed to the extension of its landlord licensing gravy train.  The current scheme was launched in March 2018, and has bagged the council the best part of a £million with £417,500 in financial penalty fines, and £350,000 from 314 HMO licences issued to landlords and paid for by increased tenant rents.

Announced by the usual twaddle put into the mouth of some hapless councillor, the scheme which currently covers 12 wards and will be rolled out  to a further six – Cranham, Emerson Park, Hacton, Hylands, St Andrew’s and Upminster. So that should be worth a good extra £half million to the council a tax ultimately paid by the tenants they claim to help.

Councillors have also agreed to the introduction of a new revenue generation aka selective licensing scheme to cover single-family properties in Romford Town and Brooklands wards which will swell the council coffers even further. It will come into force on January 25 and will operate for five years. 

A consultation was apparently held in September last year to get views on the extension and selective licensing. Of course the results of his consultation which the council claims “there was support to extend this scheme” are not to be found on the council’s consultation webpage or by a search of their website – even though they promised to make them public.  https://consultation.havering.gov.uk/environment/property-licensing/  

One imagines that, rather like the plans for the demolition of the Earth in Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, they are probably on public display in a locked safe in a locked and guarded basement deep below the town hall. 

Justifications set out by the council follow the lines of many past schemes – that is to ensure “safe, quality and well-managed accommodation”, reduce anti-social behaviour in the private rented sector, and giving “support to landlords who meet requirements and already provide good quality accommodation and service.” Little of which happens in practice and strangely no independent research is ever published. 

Councillor Viddy Persaud says: “After a consultation last year, there was support to extend this scheme. It means we can further look to help increase protection to tenants, support landlords and further support our aim of tackling poor management, overcrowding and anti-social behaviour.” 

You can view the council press release here.  

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