Property licensing in London Boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth
There are three types of property licensing schemes that cover different types of private rented properties. These are mandatory licensing, additional licensing, and selective licensing.
If you own a private rented property within the London Boroughs of Southwark or Lambeth, it is crucial to be aware of recent and upcoming changes to licensing rules and determine whether they apply to your property.
Property licensing in London Borough of Southwark
Mandatory licence in Southwark
The mandatory licence scheme has been running in Southwark since 2006. You will require a mandatory HMO licence if your property is occupied by five or more individuals in two or more households with shared amenities (with the exception of purpose built, self-contained flats situated in a block which comprises three or more self-contained flats – which do not fall within the scope of mandatory licensing).
Additional licence in Southwark
The additional licensing scheme, approved by the Council on 19 October 2021, commenced on 1 March 2022.
This scheme applies to most HMOs in the London Borough of Southwark, encompassing properties shared by three or more unrelated people sharing facilities. Purpose-built flats are not excluded from additional licensing.
This includes ‘section 257 HMOs: certain converted blocks of flats’ under the Housing Act of 2004, covering properties that have been converted into self-contained flats, have less than two-thirds of flats owner-occupied, and the conversion did not comply with the relevant Building Regulations in force at that time and still does not comply.
The licensing of section 257 HMOs is restricted to buildings with three or more storeys, containing three or more self-contained flats, all under the same ownership or considered effectively under the same control by the Council.
Selective licence in Southwark
A new selective licensing scheme came into effect on 1 March 2022.
You need a selective licence if your property is let out to a single household or two unrelated people and is located in the Council wards of Champion Hill, Faraday, Goose Green, Newington, and St Giles.
Starting November 2023, a second selective licensing scheme began. Under this scheme, you require a selective licence if your property is rented to a single household or two unrelated people, and is located in the following wards: North Walworth, Nunhead & Queens Road, Old Kent Road, Peckham, Camberwell Green, Chaucer, Dulwich Hill, Dulwich Wood, London Bridge & West Bermondsey, Peckham Rye, Rotherhithe, Rye Lane, South Bermondsey, and Surrey Docks.
If you are unsure whether your property is in one of these areas, you can use this interactive Geomap to find out.
Property licensing in the London Borough of Lambeth
There are currently two licensing schemes operating in Lambeth.
Mandatory Licence in Lambeth
The same as Southwark, you will require a mandatory HMO licence if your property is occupied by five or more individuals in two or more households with shared amenities (with the exception of purpose built, self-contained flats situated in a block which comprises three or more self-contained flats – which do not fall within the scope of mandatory licensing).
Additional Licence in Lambeth
The additional licensing scheme came into force on 9 December 2021.
This scheme applies to any property occupied by three or more individuals who are not all related and share facilities.
This includes ‘section 257 HMOs: certain converted blocks of flats’, which are properties that have been converted into self-contained flats, have less than two-thirds of flats owner-occupied, and the conversion did not comply with the 1991 Building Regulations standards and still does not comply with them.
Selective licence in Lambeth: New Proposed Changes
The Council has proposed that all types of privately rented homes in the 23 wards with the highest levels of properties in poor condition should be licensed. This selective licensing proposal is suggested to be introduced in two phases.
The first phase (designation 1) would cover four wards in the southern part of the borough: Streatham Common & Vale, Knight’s Hill, Streatham St Leonard’s, and Streatham Hill East. As this constitutes less than 20% of Lambeth’s geographical area and 20% of privately rented housing, it can be approved by the Council’s Cabinet. The implementation of this designation is anticipated in late 2024.
The second phase (designation 2) would extend to a further 19 wards and, due to its size, would require confirmation by the Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC). If approved, designation 2 could be introduced by early 2025, contingent upon DLUHC approval.
The consultation period runs until Monday 4 March 2023, and stakeholders can share their views on the Council’s website.
If you are a landlord or managing agent of a property that is licensable and you do not apply for a licence, you are at risk of being prosecuted or issued a civil penalty notice of up to a maximum of £30,000.
You could also be subject to a Rent Repayment Order and may have to repay up to 12 months of rental income.
Watch the video below to learn more about Rent Repayment Orders:
Whilst the property is unlicenced, you cannot use a Notice of Seeking Possession under Section 21 Housing Act 1988 to evict your tenants.
A successful prosecution may result in a failure of the fit and proper person assessment, making it challenging to obtain a property licence in the future.* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*