if you are a landlord renting out a property in Southwark there is now a high chance that you require a licence, thanks to changes introduced by Southwark Council on 1st January 2016. It’s important to look at the licensing rules carefully as if you fail to apply for a licence you risk prosecution, a sizeable fine and a criminal record.
Three types of licensing now exist in Southwark, as follows:
1. Mandatory HMO licensing, the traditional licence that applies throughout England and Wales. This licence is for properties that are three or more storeys high, have five or more people living there in two or more households, and share amenities such as bathrooms, toilets and cooking facilities. This licence is not new and does not form part of the changes that were introduced in Southwark this year.
2. Additional licensing applies to all homes in multiple occupation that don’t fall into the definition above. It is this new licence that seems to be causing the most confusion. The brief definition of a house or flat in multiple occupation is a dwelling that is occupied by three or more people in two or more households (‘household’ essentially means family group) who share at least one basic amenity (kitchen, bathroom, toilet). For example, a two-bedroom property with an unmarried couple and a single person living in it would now be classed as a HMO and would require a licence.
3. Selective licensing has also been introduced and applies to privately rented properties that are let to single individuals or families in specific parts of Southwark. This licence applies to ALL rental properties regardless of the number of tenants or size of the property. The areas affected can be found on an interactive map on Southwark Council’s website.
If you are a Southwark landlord and are unsure whether your property requires a licence, please get in touch with Garrett Whitelock today on 020 7407 4586. We can provide you with free professional advice and assist you with your application should a licence be required.