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Southwark Council Receives Approval for Landmark Landlord Licensing Scheme

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has given his approval to one of the UK’s largest private landlord licensing schemes, proposed by Southwark’s Labour council. This new scheme is set to revolutionise private rentals in the London borough, following the introduction of a borough-wide additional licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) last year.

The initial phase of the scheme covered around 6,000 properties in a smaller, selective licensing initiative that lasted for five years. The council used the first six months of this smaller scheme as a pilot for their new proposal, which subdivides selective licensing into various designated areas, each focusing on specific issues prevalent in the area.

The pilot proved successful, paving the way for the next phase of the scheme. The council’s official statement claims that the scheme “aims to tackle renters’ biggest concerns: repairs which have not been addressed, landlords who do not respond, and damp and mould.” It also notes a commitment to eradicating these issues from properties and assisting private tenants affected by the current cost of living crisis, such as those experiencing fuel poverty.

A spokesperson for the council conveyed their satisfaction with the approval of the expanded licensing scheme. They stated, “For too long, tenants have suffered the misery of poor standards of housing, with nowhere to turn if their landlord didn’t get problems sorted.” The representative expressed confidence that collaboration with landlords to better manage standards would improve both housing quality and the overall renting experience for Southwark residents.

The initial additional and smaller selective licensing schemes were given the green light by the council in October 2021 and came into effect in March of the same year for five wards. Selective licensing has since been extended this month to include 19 of the borough’s 23 wards. The council plans to further expand the scheme from November this year.


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