Thurrock Council is proposing to introduce an additional licensing shceme in the areas of Aveley and Uplands, Belhus, Chadwell St Mary, Grays Thurrock, Grays Riverside, Little Thurrock Blackshots, Ockendon, Stifford Clays, Tilbury Riverside and Thurrock Park, Tilbury St Chads, and West Thurrock and South Stifford.
If the scheme is approved, landlords with property in these areas will have to pay for a licence in order to rent out the property lawfully.
In the RLA’s response to the consultation on these plans, which you can read here we have outlined the main reasons why we are opposed to the introduction of Additional Licensing in the areas of Grays Thurrock, Belhus, Chadwell St Mary & Stifford Clays.
In the RLA’s response to this consultation, we have expressed concern that schemes such as this ‘do little’ but ‘alienate’ law abiding landlords, because they are left often having to pay for expensive licences, will criminal landlords continue to operate ‘below the radar’.
The response also outlines the RLA’s concern that if additional licensing was introduced in Thurrock, it would put pressure on non-selective licence areas. There is also little evidence that licensing schemes improve housing standards. The focus of staff becomes the processing and issue of licences, while prosecutions centre on whether a property is licensed or not, rather than improving management standards and property conditions.
Enforce existing powers
In our response, we also reiterate that councils should fully use the enforcement powers already granted to them by the Housing and Planning Act 2016, ranging from civil penalties, rent repayment orders, banning orders and the introduction of a database for rogue landlords and letting agents, rather than rely on Licensing Schemes to regulate landlords in addition to these powers.
What is additional HMO licensing?
Additional licensing applies to Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO), which are not subject to mandatory licensing, but which are of a description designation for HMO licensing by the local authority.
A local authority may either designate a whole of their area or only part of their area as being subject to additional HMO licensing, for a specific type of HMO or all HMOs not subject to mandatory licensing.