Image
A row of terraced houses on  a sunny day

Property Licensing Consultation

Start date:
End date:
Filed under: Housing

Waltham Forest Council currently operates two property licensing schemes. The selective licensing scheme is due to end in April 2025 and the additional HMO licensing scheme is due to end in March 2025. These schemes have been effective in improving housing conditions in the private rental sector and we believe that licensing is the most effective way to continue to do this.

We have therefore launched a consultation with stakeholders including residents and landlords across the borough and beyond. We are inviting comments on the proposed private rented property licensing schemes. 

We aim to reach as many private tenants, residents and landlords as possible through this statutory consultation. The results will form part of our application to central government if we decide to go ahead with a large-scale selective licensing scheme.

The Consultation is open for 12 weeks between Friday 15 December 2023 and Sunday 10 March 2024. The consultation response should only take about 15 minutes, and you can find further information about the consultation below. 

Have your say by completing the consultation questionnaire below.

Introduction

Privately rented properties play a valuable role in providing housing in the borough. More households in the borough rent from a private landlord than from a social landlord and an estimated 39 per cent of households with dependent children live in privately rented homes.

The selective licensing and additional HMO licensing schemes provide a regulatory framework where landlords are required to proactively manage and maintain their rented homes through conditions attached to approved licences. More than 4,500 private rented homes have been improved since the first borough-wide selective licensing scheme came into force in 2015 through a combination of working with landlords and agents informally and pursuing formal action where necessary.

In order to build on the achievements of the current schemes, the Council is proposing to implement two new five-year property licensing schemes, subject to consultation. These are:

  • A Selective Licensing scheme across 20 of the 22 wards in the borough (excluding Endlebury, and Hatch Lane and Highams Park North wards) from 1 May 2025 after the current scheme ends on 30 April 2025.  Under the scheme, most privately rented homes that are rented to single households or no more than two unrelated people would require a Selective Licence.
  • A borough-wide Additional Licensing scheme that would cover all eligible HMOs not within the scope of Mandatory HMO Licensing where tenants share some basic facilities or amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom. This is proposed to apply across all of Waltham Forest and will ensure that all eligible HMOs are licensed.  The proposed start date of this scheme is 1 April 2025.

The proposed fees are:

  • Selective Licence: Part A element (application and processing) is proposed at £300 and Part B element (enforcement) is proposed at £595, with a total fee payable on successful application of £895.
  • Additional HMO licence: Part A element (application and processing) is proposed at £600 and Part B element (enforcement) is proposed at £600, with a total fee payable on successful application of £1,200.
  • There are proposed discounts on the above fees which include multi-property discounts and EPC discounts.

Getting involved

We have appointed an independent delivery partner, Public Perspectives, to conduct the public consultation on our behalf. We will be using several approaches to maximise engagement:

  • Online Consultation Questionnaire this is the primary place for people to share their views, and will only take about 15 minutes
  • Landlord forums
  • In-person public meeting
  • Tenant focus groups 
  • Telephone survey

Before completing the consultation, please review the document that supports this consultation and provides further information about the proposed licensing schemes, including:

  • Evidence base for the proposed schemes, including how they would continue to improve property management and conditions, and reduce anti-social behaviour
  • Details of the current selective and additional HMO licensing schemes and their impact
  • Details of the proposed new schemes including areas covered by licensing, proposed fees and license conditions 

If you require help to complete the questionnaire or have any questions, please contact our team. You can ask for a paper version of the questionnaire, and we can provide help if your first language is not English. Our contact details are:

The outcome of the consultation and the future decision about the proposed schemes will be published on the council website and through other mechanisms. The evidence document can also be accessed below:

There is further information to accompany the consultation document:

Landlord forums

During the consultation, we have hosted additional Landlord Forums and we dedicated time at these two Landlord Forums to the consultation. If you wish to join our Landlord Forum mailing list please email propertylicensing@walthamforest.gov.uk

In-person public meeting

What: Consultation to discuss proposals to implement licensing of private rented housing

Who: For all those interested or affected by the proposals, including landlords, property professionals, private rented tenants and all other residents

View the slides from the presentation 

Tenant focus groups and telephone survey

We will be holding a series of tenant workshops which will be invite-only and a telephone survey with 1,000 selected residents. The survey aims to gather a statistically representative sample of views about the proposals. You cannot volunteer to participate in the consultation this way but do contact us if you need support completing the online questionnaire or attending one of the events.