Michael Gove

19 Jul 23

Southwark’s Labour council has won the backing of Housing Secretary Michael Gove for one of the largest private landlord licensing schemes in the country.

The new scheme in the London borough follows the introduction last year of a borough-wide additional licensing scheme for HMOs and a small, selective licensing scheme covering approximately 6,000 properties, for five years.

The first six months of this smaller selective scheme was used as a pilot for the council’s new licensing proposal, which divides selective licensing schemes into different designated areas, each tackling specific issues in the area. 

Once the pilot was deemed successful, the next phase went ahead.

A statement from the council claims that the scheme “aims to tackle renters’ biggest concerns: repairs which have not been addressed, landlords who do not respond, and damp and mould, which the council wants to see eliminated from properties. The scheme will also make it easier to support private tenants with problems associated with the cost of living crisis such as fuel poverty.’

A council spokesperson goes on to say: “For too long, tenants have suffered the misery of poor standards of housing, with nowhere to turn if their landlord didn’t get problems sorted. I’m happy to say that we can now press ahead with an extended licensing scheme, making it one of the biggest nationally. 

“We know that that by working with landlords, to better manage standards, we can make improvements and bring up the quality of housing, and the experience of renting for our residents.”

The additional and smaller selective licensing schemes were approved by the council in October 2021 and were effective from March last year for five wards. 

Selective licensing has this month been extended to a total 19 of the borough’s 23 wards and this will extend further from November this year.

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