Tighter Regulations For Rentals in Ealing

Public consultation over proposals to introduce licences

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Landlords who rent out properties in Ealing may soon have to pay for a licence.

Ealing is one of the largest boroughs in London with currently more than 137,000 residential properties. Of these, around 36,000 are rented from private landlords.

The council is proposing that all houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) should be licenced. A HMO is a house or flat occupied by more than one household (not related or living as a couple) who rent the property and share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. At the moment only certain larger HMOs in Ealing are licenced.

The council also wants other privately rented homes (not just HMOs) in the five wards of Acton Central, East Acton, South Acton, Southall Green and Southall Broadway to be more regulated. These wards have been selected because they have high numbers of privately rented homes in poor condition and there are significant problems with anti-social behaviour.

Census figures for 2011 showed that private renting increased by nearly 70% over ten years from 2001. Under the new proposals a landlord would have to comply with several conditions relating to the management and condition of the property, including gas, electrical, fire safety and the facilities provided. A written tenancy agreement would be required and anti-social behaviour by tenants would not be permitted.

Northfields Estate Agent, Daniel Paul, says the proposals won't prove popular with landlords.

''Other local councils in London who have implemented this scheme, currently charge between £500.00 to £750.00 for a 5 year  licence. Therefore if Ealing Council follow the pricing of other councils, they will be raking in a minimum of eighteen million pounds over a 5 year period.
To implement this scheme, the cost would be in the region of one million pounds per year.
There are housing laws in place at present, to deal with properties that are below an acceptable standard, so landlords will be sceptical that this is another money making exercise.'' 

Bryan Light, Lettings Director, Go View London agrees, '' This is another move by the government and local authority to shift existing legislation into the landlord’s domain.  The authorities already have pre-existing legislation to deal with the areas of concern highlighted, but are not effectively policing it.

''Our properties are managed by an in-house property management team and our investment in this area of the business has ensured we comply with and surpass all necessary legislation.  It is all very well local authorities and HMRC continually targeting private landlords but we should remember that the vibrant buy to let sector is one of the main reasons homeowners see continual price rises in their homes and increased equity.  By making this market more difficult you are discouraging investment in the market.''

Many people could be affected by the proposed changes, including tenants, landlords, property agents, neighbours, residents and businesses. The council wants to hear from as many people as possible about its proposals in a 12-week public consultation that runs from Monday 11 January until Sunday 3 April.

The consultation will include an online questionnaire available at www.ealing.gov.uk/consultation, public meetings and interviews with key stakeholders.

The results of the consultation will be used to help shape the council's plans to implement the new schemes in Ealing, subject to further approval by the council’s cabinet.

Councillor Ranjit Dheer, cabinet member for safety, culture and community services, said: “All our residents deserve decent, safe homes to live in, and we are determined to raise standards in the borough’s private rented sector to help us achieve this.

“Underlying the proposals to expand the private rental licencing scheme in Ealing is the serious issue of poorly managed properties which pave the way for sub-standard living conditions and anti-social behaviour. Our proposals will give us the opportunity to drive up standards and robustly tackle unscrupulous landlords.

“We are keen to hear people’s views on this issue. No matter what your experience, you can help us to shape the future of the borough’s growing private rented sector. I urge everyone to visit our website and take part in our public consultation.”

For more information and to have your say about the proposals in Ealing, please visit the council’s website at www.ealing.gov.uk/prslicensing

12th January 2016

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