A local authority in London has increased its property licensing fees by 78% to £900 per property, which is believed to be the highest in the UK.
The huge increase is expected to generate an additional £16 million in fees over the next five years for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.
The council has also increased the fees it charges for licensing HMOs by 30% to £1,300 per property.
The council operates three ways to license private rented properties within its borders (pictured, above) depending on how they are rented out. This includes a selective licensing scheme, an HMO licence and an additional licensing scheme for smaller HMOs.
From 1st September this year its additional licensing scheme is not being renewed and instead all letting agents or landlords renewing the licence for a non-HMO property must apply via the council’s selective licensing scheme instead.
Housing regulation consultancy London Property Licensing has also claimed that advice given by the council’s housing hotline about the changes could lead to agents and landlords being in breach of HMO regulations.
It says council advisors have told the consultancy that smaller HMOs will not need to licensed when the borough’s additional scheme expires on 1st September, but London Property Licensing believes this is not the case as has asked the council for clarification.
“With a replacement selective licensing scheme starting on 1 September 2019, it is vital that Barking and Dagenham Council clarify how the rules will apply to HMOs that are no longer covered by their additional licensing scheme, says Richard Tacagni, MD, London Property Licensing.