Some landlords in Lambeth will need £923 licence to rent out their properties

Lambeth Council offices ( Robert Firth)
Lambeth Council offices ( Robert Firth)

Landlords will be required to buy a £923 licence to rent out properties in certain areas of Lambeth under a council plan to tackle poor quality homes and reduce antisocial behaviour.

People letting a single property to less than three households in Knight’s Hill, Streatham Common and Vale, Streatham Hill East and Streatham St Leonard’s will be required to purchase a licence from September.

The four areas of Lambeth were chosen for the scheme’s launch because properties in these wards have nearly double the national average of serious hazards.

Around 8,600 properties in the four wards are expected to fall under the new selective licensing regime, which will run for five years until 2029.

The Labour-led council intends to outline plans to roll out the scheme to a wider area of the borough in autumn. Under the proposals, the regime would be extended to all wards in the borough except Vauxhall and Waterloo and South Bank.

National legislation only allows councils to introduce licensing schemes in areas where there is sufficient proof of bad housing. The council was unable to find enough evidence of poor quality housing in Vauxhall and Waterloo and South Bank to support the introduction of the scheme there.

Landlords owning properties with an energy performance rating of C or better will receive a £50 discount on the proposed £923 licence cost. Those who are part of an accredited landlord association will get £75 off. Landlords owning more than one flat in a block will also get a discount.

The first stage of the scheme covering  Knight’s Hill, Streatham Common and Vale, Streatham Hill East and Streatham St Leonard’s was approved at a Lambeth Council cabinet meeting last Thursday (May 16).

Around a third of Lambeth’s 144,985 homes are privately rented and government and council data suggests 9,446 of these could have a serious hazard. Officials believe that around 39,851 properties in the borough could be included in the new selective licensing regime.

Approximately 5,000 privately rented homes in the borough are already covered by two other licensing schemes. Since 2018, all properties rented to five or more unrelated people sharing a kitchen or bathroom have required a licence under nationwide rules. In addition, an existing council-run scheme requires some landlords who let properties to three or four households sharing amenities to obtain a licence.

Cllr Mahamed Hashi, the council’s cabinet member for safer communities, said: “This scheme will see more support for vulnerable residents, improved premises conditions [and] help reduce overcrowding. Ultimately, it will lead to better housing for our residents.

“Whilst most landlords provide good quality, safe accommodation, there are some who take advantage of their tenants or don’t know what their responsibilities are. Licensing will help us crack down on rogue landlords and take decisive action against housing offences.”

Lambeth is the latest of a string of councils in inner South London to introduce a licensing scheme for landlords who rent out flats to one or two households. Southwark Council expanded its licensing scheme for such properties to cover a total of 19 wards in November 2023.

In Lewisham, landlords renting out properties to less than three households will require a licence from July 1. Lewisham’s scheme is expected to cover an extra 20,000 properties in the borough, where a quarter of residents are private renters.