Islington landlord licence scheme goes live to try protect renters' rights

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council's executive member for housing and development

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council's executive member for housing and development - Credit: Archant

New landlord licensing schemes have been launched in Islington to try to improve living conditions for private renters. 

Two Islington Council initiatives, one for houses with multiple occupants (HMOs) for the whole borough and another in Finsbury Park ward, were first announced in February last year following a consultation but became active from February 1 this year. 

Designed to ensure homes meet minimum property standards, Islington Council says the schemes benefit responsible landlords by stopping rogue landlords from saving money by avoiding maintenance.

The HMO scheme means any landlord who rents a property with three or more unrelated tenants, as well as certain converted blocks of flats, must get a licence.

Islington Council says a pilot HMO scheme, which has been in place in Caledonian and Holloway Roads since 2015, has seen improved property management in those areas.

There will be a different scheme for Finsbury Park ward, which has the poorest housing conditions in private rental property in the borough, according to the council. 

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Landlords in that ward must obtain a license to rent properties occupied by either a single household or two or more people sharing.

Fines of up to £30,000 can be handed out for letting an unlicensed site, or an application for a Rent Repayment Order may also be made - if approved, this means the landlord has to pay back up to a year of rent from the property. 

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Cllr Diarmaid Ward, housing lead at Islington Council, said: "The council is committed to building a fairer Islington for all, and that means we will do everything we can to prevent rogue landlords taking advantage of people’s desperate need for a home.

“These new licensing schemes will help protect private renters and also ensure that conscientious landlords are rewarded. There are a great many responsible landlords in the borough and schemes like this help to level the playing field.

“Licensing schemes are also powerful tools that allow the council to use data to identify properties with poor conditions and take appropriate action.

"We’ve taken significant enforcement action in recent years against landlords and lettings agents who don’t treat private renters fairly and we will continue to stand up for our residents.”

Islington Council reminded affected landlords to apply for a property licence - usually valid for five years - if they have not already done so. 

Landlords accredited by schemes such as NRLA, Safeagent and ARLA can also get a discount on their application.

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