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Is a private rental licence a legal requirement?

Question

I’ve heard that I need a private rental licence for some parts of the country? Is this a legal requirement?

Answer

Yes, in some parts of the UK, a private rental licence is a legal requirement for a private landlord, and you can face some hefty fines if you don’t adhere to this legislation.

Most people are aware of the Rent Smart Wales scheme, which was introduced in November 2015. All landlords who own a private rental property in Wales must register and complete a certain amount or training, before being issued with a licence. Landlords must register before November 23rd 2016, or they face a fine.

For landlords in Scotland, the Landlord Registration central online system is fairly well known, and with non-compliance fines of up to £50,000, most landlords make sure they are registered as soon as they purchase their first buy-to-let investment! Registration is valid for three years from the date the council approves your application.

There are some lesser known schemes run buy councils though, and it is important that if you own a property in this area you are fully compliant with these regulations, as some of them carry large fines!

Newham

If you are a private landlord renting properties in the London Borough of Newham, you must register for a Private Rented Property Licence. The cost of a licence starts at £500, and you must apply for one licence per property. If you are found to be renting a property without one, you could face a fine of up to £20,000.

You can apply on the Newham Council website.

Croydon

It became a legal requirement in Croydon to have a private Rented Property Licence in October 2015, with the council introducing the scheme in order to encourage a higher standard of private renting in the area.
If you are found to be renting a property privately in Croydon without a licence, you can face fines of up to £20,000, and if you fail to comply with licence conditions you can be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000. You must apply for a licence per property in Croydon, at a price of £750.

You can apply for a licence on Croydon Council Private Rented Licence website.

Barking and Dagenham

The Private Rental Property Licence scheme in Barking and Dagenham has seen the council working closely with emergency services such as the police, local fire services and other agencies to identify unlicensed properties.
All private rented property in the areas must be licensed by the council, with registration costing £500 per property. If currently own a private rental property in the borough, and are operating without a licence, you are at risk of prosecution if your property is not licensed.

You can apply on the lbbd website.

Waltham Forest

Owners of every privately rented property in the Waltham Forest borough must apply for a private rental licence. If you own multiple properties in the Waltham Forest area, you must apply for multiple licences. Certain exemptions do apply, so do check the council website to check if your property is eligible.
The fee is £500 for a single dwelling for a licence period of a maximum of five years.

You can apply on the Waltham Forest website.

Southwark

From January 2016, certain areas in the borough of Southwark will require a licence. You can check whether your property falls within the boundaries of the scheme on the council’s website here Click here to view an interactive map where you can check if your property falls within a Selective Licensing area, where a simple interactive map makes finding your postcode simple.
The cost of a licence is £500 per property, but if you apply before 1st July, you can receive a 20% discount on your fees.

You can apply on Southwark Council website.

Brent

Brent council are asking landlords to register for a licence, or risk prosecution and a fine of up to £20,000. The licensing was introduced in order to improve the standards of privately rented properties in areas which have shown to have ongoing problems with anti-social behaviour.

You can apply on Brent Councilwebsite

Liverpool

Landlords in Liverpool must also comply with a licensing scheme, requiring a five-year licence for every rented property.
Compliance is compulsory, however the fees have been staggered to ensure that if you own more than one property in the city your first property will cost £400, with each additional property costing £350.

You can apply at Liverpool City Council.

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