Additional Licensing Scheme consultation

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Foreword from the Mayor of Tower Hamlets:

"As Mayor of our wonderful borough, I am seeking your views on a proposed five-year borough-wide property licensing scheme for multi-occupied homes within the private rented sector.

"Tower Hamlets has one of the fastest growing, youngest, and most diverse populations in the country. Our population has doubled in 30 years – to 308,000 in 2017 – and is expected to reach 365,000 by 2027. Over 45 per cent of residents are aged 20-39 years of age.

"Given these developments, it is unsurprising that the private rented sector in our borough continues to grow. Indeed, it is estimated that that over 40% of all properties in Tower Hamlets are in the private rented sector, equating to some 53,000 households. Comparatively, across London as a whole, the same figure is estimated at 26%.

"These realities – combined with the fact that many households in Tower Hamlets are currently experiencing financial hardship as they grapple with a cost-of-living crisis and an often-unaffordable housing market – underscores the Council’s need to assess all options relating to the private rented market.

"We are therefore consulting the views of tenants, landlords, residents, and all other stakeholders on a proposed new five-year borough-wide property licensing scheme, which – if adopted – would be required for all properties in the private rented sector with three or more renters from two different households to be licensed.

"The current scheme is due to come to an end in March 2024, and it is one of my manifesto pledges to review it to ensure it’s working for tenants as well as landlords. I would therefore be grateful if you could complete the online questionnaire, or attend one of the ‘live’ sessions with officers, so you can make your voice heard.

"The housing crisis is acute in our borough, and I am determined to address it with input from all our stakeholders – a Mayor who both listens and acts."

Lutfur Rahman
Mayor of Tower Hamlets


Background to the consultation

Under the powers of the Housing Act 2004 the Council can require smaller Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to be licensed. This is known as additional licensing. The Council has been licensing these smaller HMOs since April 2019 in all areas except Weavers, Whitechapel and Spitalfields and Banglatown. This additional license scheme is due to end on the 31st March 2024.

Tower Hamlets Council wishes to consult and seek the views of tenants, landlords, residents, and all other stakeholders in relation to a proposed a new five-year borough-wide additional licensing scheme. The proposed scheme would commence at the end of the current scheme (April 2024). This proposal includes the areas of Weavers, Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Banglatown, which were excluded from the current scheme.

The council commissioned an independent review into the effectiveness of the scheme by looking at all available data. Mayhew Harper Associates Ltd produced a report entitled 'Review of additional Licensing Scheme for PRS properties in Tower Hamlets'. The report sets out the data and the evidence base which is guiding the officers and in turn the Mayor and Councillors to make the final decision about the future of the scheme.

Based on the data, council officers are proposing to recommend renewing the scheme, including the wards that have been excluded, depending on the outcome of this consultation. This is to allow the council to:

  • Consolidate the improvement and build on the success achieved by the scheme.
  • Ensure rogue landlords are caught and driven out of the sector.
  • Complete the works started in professionalising the sector and assist “one off, incidental and part-time” landlords protect their assets and their tenants with better property management.
  • Create a level playing field so that the good, responsible and law abiding landlords or agents are not competing with unprofessional and criminal elements in the sector.

It is therefore crucial the council hears from as many people as possible who may be affected or have an interest in this area to help with the decision making and shaping the approach going forward. We have produced a range of documents to support the consultation. These are provided within the Additional Documents section on this page. It will take around 10-15 minutes of your time to answer the survey questions and put your comments or suggestions forward.

The closing date for the consultation is 23:59pm on 31st March 2023.

If you have any questions, wish to submit your written feedback or would like to book a place on one of the virtual consultation meetings, then please email towerhamletsprs@melresearch.co.uk or call freephone 0800 0730 348.

Foreword from the Mayor of Tower Hamlets:

"As Mayor of our wonderful borough, I am seeking your views on a proposed five-year borough-wide property licensing scheme for multi-occupied homes within the private rented sector.

"Tower Hamlets has one of the fastest growing, youngest, and most diverse populations in the country. Our population has doubled in 30 years – to 308,000 in 2017 – and is expected to reach 365,000 by 2027. Over 45 per cent of residents are aged 20-39 years of age.

"Given these developments, it is unsurprising that the private rented sector in our borough continues to grow. Indeed, it is estimated that that over 40% of all properties in Tower Hamlets are in the private rented sector, equating to some 53,000 households. Comparatively, across London as a whole, the same figure is estimated at 26%.

"These realities – combined with the fact that many households in Tower Hamlets are currently experiencing financial hardship as they grapple with a cost-of-living crisis and an often-unaffordable housing market – underscores the Council’s need to assess all options relating to the private rented market.

"We are therefore consulting the views of tenants, landlords, residents, and all other stakeholders on a proposed new five-year borough-wide property licensing scheme, which – if adopted – would be required for all properties in the private rented sector with three or more renters from two different households to be licensed.

"The current scheme is due to come to an end in March 2024, and it is one of my manifesto pledges to review it to ensure it’s working for tenants as well as landlords. I would therefore be grateful if you could complete the online questionnaire, or attend one of the ‘live’ sessions with officers, so you can make your voice heard.

"The housing crisis is acute in our borough, and I am determined to address it with input from all our stakeholders – a Mayor who both listens and acts."

Lutfur Rahman
Mayor of Tower Hamlets


Background to the consultation

Under the powers of the Housing Act 2004 the Council can require smaller Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to be licensed. This is known as additional licensing. The Council has been licensing these smaller HMOs since April 2019 in all areas except Weavers, Whitechapel and Spitalfields and Banglatown. This additional license scheme is due to end on the 31st March 2024.

Tower Hamlets Council wishes to consult and seek the views of tenants, landlords, residents, and all other stakeholders in relation to a proposed a new five-year borough-wide additional licensing scheme. The proposed scheme would commence at the end of the current scheme (April 2024). This proposal includes the areas of Weavers, Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Banglatown, which were excluded from the current scheme.

The council commissioned an independent review into the effectiveness of the scheme by looking at all available data. Mayhew Harper Associates Ltd produced a report entitled 'Review of additional Licensing Scheme for PRS properties in Tower Hamlets'. The report sets out the data and the evidence base which is guiding the officers and in turn the Mayor and Councillors to make the final decision about the future of the scheme.

Based on the data, council officers are proposing to recommend renewing the scheme, including the wards that have been excluded, depending on the outcome of this consultation. This is to allow the council to:

  • Consolidate the improvement and build on the success achieved by the scheme.
  • Ensure rogue landlords are caught and driven out of the sector.
  • Complete the works started in professionalising the sector and assist “one off, incidental and part-time” landlords protect their assets and their tenants with better property management.
  • Create a level playing field so that the good, responsible and law abiding landlords or agents are not competing with unprofessional and criminal elements in the sector.

It is therefore crucial the council hears from as many people as possible who may be affected or have an interest in this area to help with the decision making and shaping the approach going forward. We have produced a range of documents to support the consultation. These are provided within the Additional Documents section on this page. It will take around 10-15 minutes of your time to answer the survey questions and put your comments or suggestions forward.

The closing date for the consultation is 23:59pm on 31st March 2023.

If you have any questions, wish to submit your written feedback or would like to book a place on one of the virtual consultation meetings, then please email towerhamletsprs@melresearch.co.uk or call freephone 0800 0730 348.

Page last updated: 05 Jan 2023, 04:55 PM