Published 3rd August 2020
After much discussion and public opinion, the Camden Council cabinet passed their proposal to renew their additional HMO licensing scheme for another 5 years. This decision comes after the cabinet received over a thousand public responses, with about two-thirds of the responses in agreement with the renewal of the additional housing scheme (80% of private tenants and 33% of landlords and agents were supportive of renewing the scheme).
The current additional licensing scheme began on 8th December, 2015 and is scheduled to end on 7th December, 2020, when the renewal scheme will begin for another 5 years.
But the big question is why? Why did Camden renew their additional licensing scheme? In short, they are renewing the scheme to improve the living conditions of residents who live in privately rented shared homes.
Since the scheme’s creation in 2015, Camden has inspected almost 3,400 HMOs, which have resulted in almost 15,000 improvements made by landlords. These changes have improved the quality and safety of homes for these private renters. However, the Council estimates that about 8,000 HMOs are left unlicensed, many of which may not meet the proper standards for letting out the properties.
In June 2019, the Cabinet released a summary that reviewed the original scheme and evaluated whether the current licensing scheme was meeting the objectives or not. The summary discussed that there were improvements made upon the standards for HMOs. However, lack of compliance and unlicensed properties were still an issue. Because of this, the new proposal offers some of the following measures: higher licensing fees, shorter licences, and variation of HMO standards.
According to Camden.gov.uk, the new scheme will include new regulations, such as:
Cabinet Member for Better Homes, Councillor Meric Apak, discusses how this scheme comes just in time during the heat of the pandemic. He is particularly concerned in regards to the Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities that are affected to a greater extent by the virus. A high proportion of members of these communities live in the private rental sector, and will therefore benefit the most from Camden renewing their additional licensing scheme for a further 5 years.
“The renewal comes at a time where we are seeing an even greater need to continue with this scheme, as the current pandemic has highlighted how important it is for all of us to have a safe and comfortable home,” says Apak.
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