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New Licensing Scheme in North London Mandates Landlords to Assure Quality Housing

A new scheme introduced in North London requires landlords to register for a license and certify that they are providing their tenants with good quality housing. Non-compliance could result in prosecution.

Private landlords in Finsbury Park, Tollington and Hillrise wards, which are areas known for their poor living conditions, are required to participate in this scheme and upgrade their properties to meet the standards set out.

Islington, where nearly one-third or more than 5,000 homes are privately rented, has shown commitment to safeguard renters and ensure they are provided a safe dwelling. As such, the council’s enforcement officers have been overwhelmed with thousands of complaints about property disrepair, damp, mould, inadequate facilities and safety issues.

Landlords failing to fulfil license conditions could face criminal convictions and unlimited fines, or a financial penalty of up to £30,000 for each condition breached.

The selective licensing scheme, which has been approved by the council’s Executive, will apply to 5,400 homes in the aforementioned wards, tripling the reach of the previous Finsbury Park scheme. The scheme is applicable to all privately rented houses or flats in these wards, be they occupied by an individual, two people sharing, or any number of people forming a single household.

Cllr Una O’Halloran, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Homes and Communities, expressed her sentiments: “We want everyone in Islington to have a safe, decent and genuinely affordable place to call home, and we will stand up for private renters let down by the Government.”

She further added, “While the vast majority of Islington’s landlords are responsible and let good quality homes, renters have informed us that many others are beset with safety and other issues, while their rent continues to climb. This new licensing scheme will mean landlords must step up in hazard hotspots to protect tenants – or face repercussions from our enforcement team.”

Due to government rules, the council can only introduce a licensing scheme that covers up to 20% of the borough without special permission from ministers.

The scheme is anticipated to take effect from January 2024, following a statutory notification process. In addition to this, Islington also has two other separate landlord licensing schemes in place to protect private renters in shared accommodation.