The mayor of London has launched an online checking service through which private renters can see whether landlords should have a licence.
Privately-rented properties need a licence if they fall into one of three categories, depending on location within the capital. Mandatory HMO (houses in multiple occupation) licences are required for properties shared by five or more people who make up at least two households and share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen. Additional HMO licences are required for smaller homes shared by three or four people from at least two households. Selective licences can cover all privately-rented properties in an area.
The new online service uses location and a short questionnaire to work out if a property should be licenced, and if this is the case it collects data for an enquiry sent to the relevant London borough. It has been developed through the mayor’s private rented sector partnership with London boroughs, joining the rogue landlord and agent checker service launched in 2017.
When a landlord does not hold the right licence, renters may be entitled to a rent repayment order of up to 12 months’ rent as well as the invalidation of no fault eviction notices. There are 2.6 million private renters in London.
“My new property licence checker is a key part of my work to redress the imbalance of power that currently exists in the London private rented sector,” said mayor Sadiq Khan. “London’s renters deserve to live in safe, secure, comfortable accommodation, whilst councils need the tools to deal with rogue operators.” He called on the government to give him powers to establish new licensing schemes that would work across London.
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