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Consultation on Additional Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

Background

Almost 16% of all rented property in the borough is a Household of Multiple Occupation (HMO). HMOs include bedsits, shared houses, flats, lettings with their own facilities but which are not self-contained, and some types of poorly converted ‘self–contained’ flat. Someone's home is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:

- at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
- tenants share toilet or bathroom or kitchen facilities 

There are numerous high quality landlords and letting agents providing a range of property types throughout the borough to meet a broad range of housing needs, however there are landlords and agents who are managing their HMOs ineffectively resulting or likely to result in one or more particular problems, either for those occupying the HMOs or for members of the public. In order to improve the quality of management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in specific Wards of the borough, the introduction of Additional Licensing is proposed.

What is Additional Licensing

Additional Licensing puts conditions on HMO landlords/agents that they must meet in order to let a property out. The Council believes that the Additional Licensing conditions will lead to better managed properties, a reduction in anti-social behaviour (specifically untidy front gardens and dumping of rubbish) and an improvement in living conditions for tenants. The Government sets 8 Mandatory Conditions covering topics ranging from minimum bedroom size to gas safety. The Government also permits councils to set other conditions that they consider appropriate and Walsall Council proposes conditions that also cover items such as emergency lighting in HMOs and the need for the Licence Holder to be a Fit and Proper Person, fire fighting equipment. Review the full list of proposed Additional Licensing conditions here.

View our slides explaining the proposed Additional Licensing in Walsall (835KB .pdf).

License fees

Under the proposed Additional Licensing Scheme, landlords/agents would have to pay a licensing fee for each HMO property they rent out in the specified area. The licensing fee covers the cost of the scheme and allows the council to employ staff to check the condition of private rented HMOs in the area and make sure that the correct management arrangements are in place.

The proposal provides both an ‘early bird’ discount and reduced fee for those landlords who are properly accredited. The average licence will cost around £675 for a five-year period. 

Review the proposed Additional Licensing fees here.

Statutory consultation on proposed Additional Licensing Scheme for HMOs

Before Additional Licensing can be introduced a statutory period of consultation with residents, landlords / agents and businesses in the proposed scheme area and surrounding areas must be conducted. Consultation must be for a minimum of 10 weeks.
On 9 December 2020 Cabinet approved statutory consultation on an Additional Licensing Scheme for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) for the wards of: Palfrey, St Matthews, Paddock and Pleck. The proposed scheme covers these areas as there are a higher number of HMOs in these wards and many are in a serious state of disrepair.
The 9 December 2020 Cabinet Report can be viewed here

Councillor Adrian Andrew Deputy Leader of Walsall Council said: “We want to improve housing standards and make sure that landlords and private letting agents provide good properties and maintain them well. Whilst we know that many already do this, there are still too many examples of properties of this type in the borough that are poorly managed - are unsafe and in unsatisfactory conditions.  A new approach is needed and this additional licensing scheme is a good way forward.”

Statutory consultation period 22 February to 6 June 2021

Prior to any decisions being made and exceeding statutory guidance, consultation will take place over a period of 15 weeks. The views of residents, private landlords, businesses and other stakeholders in the area and surrounding will be sought. Our Additional Licensing online survey, which takes about 5-10 minutes to complete, will be available to complete from 22 February until midnight on 6 June 2021. 

Proposed boundary of Additional Licensing Scheme Area

The map below shows the proposed Additional Licensing scheme area (in Green). To see whether a specific street or property is in the proposed area either zoom in using the map or see the full list of streets within the proposed Additional Licensing scheme area.

 

Following consultation

We will review all comments that are received and prepare a report, including a summary of the feedback to a future Cabinet meeting. Cabinet will consider the report and they will decide whether to:

  • Go ahead with Additional Licensing as proposed
  • Go ahead with a revised proposal for Additional Licensing or
  • Not go ahead with Additional Licensing. 

Depending on the Cabinet decision, the scheme could start in early Autumn 2021.

Further information

For any questions on the proposed scheme, for infomration in an alternative format or support to respond to the consultation, please contact us:

Email: HMOs@walsall.gov.uk

Phone: 01922 652171