New Licensing Scheme In Westminster
A new licensing scheme in Westminster will come into force in the City of Westminster on the 30th of August 2021. This new scheme will affect over 9,000 properties. If you own property in the area, here’s everything that you need to be aware of.
The focus of the new scheme is HMOs (housing of multiple occupancies). Any property that has more than three residents will be subject to the new licensing system. This includes houses, flatshares, bedsits, and even some buildings that have been converted into flats.
A new license is needed if there are more than three occupants who form more than one household. This means family homes are exempt. The most affected types of accommodations will be those that cater to students and young professionals.
Aim of The Scheme
The stated goal of the scheme is to improve housing conditions for renters. The City of Westminster is taking aim at all rental properties by bringing in stricter licensing requirements. They’ve started with HMOs because they believe these properties are more likely to be in worse condition.
The new scheme has higher standards for a range of issues. However, the specifications have minimum standards focused on the state of repair, fire safety, and tenancy management. Under the new scheme, the council can step in if there are concerns.
The council hopes that these new requirements will help protect tenants from the adverse health and social impacts of poor housing. They are also aiming to improve the quality of the renters attracted to the area and generally raise the profile of Westminster.
There are new standards that affect a range of issues. Kitchen, bathroom, and toilet facilities are covered with fire safety, heating, lighting, ventilation, and room size. In addition, the scheme outlines minimum bedroom sizes for properties to meet. If you have a property with smaller room sizes, it’s essential to check if this will affect you.
The price of a license will also be changing. The council will no longer charge per accommodation unit. Instead, there is a flat fee. It’s £975 per property for shared accommodation and £1,240 per property for section 257 HMOs. For most landlords, this should work out to be cheaper than the old licensing system.
What To Do If Your Property Is Affected
If your property is affected by the new licensing scheme, you must check the new standards. You will then need to check that your property meets them. To do this, you may need to get some assessments. Assessment Hive can help you with these. We have a team of experts who can help you with accurate floor plans and energy performance certificate.
Once your property is in order, you can apply for a license online. From submitting your application, it can take a while to hear back from the council. Depending on the paperwork submitted, the council may perform an inspection. So it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for it to be a long process and get your application in early.