Private landlords must pay £350 for a licence under new plans by Brent Council

Cllr Margaret McLennan

Cllr Margaret McLennan - Credit: Archant

Private landlords in Brent will be forced to foot £350 to sign up to a compulsory five-year licensing scheme before they can rent out their properties, under new proposals.

The plans have been drawn up by town hall bosses in a bid to crackdown on rogue landlords who force their tenants to live in insanitary conditions.

Under the proposals all private landlords in the Harlesden, Willesden Green and Wembley Central wards must be licensed before letting their homes.

Cllr Margaret McLennan, Brent Council’s lead member for housing, said: “We want to create a minimum standard for landlords and properties to ensure that residents can expect a good standard of housing.

“It has been successful in other areas of London and it will tackle the minority of private landlords who give their tenants a raw deal and also help stamp out anti-social behaviour by tenants.”

In addition, a licence will also be needed by those who rent out smaller houses of multiple home occupancy in Brent from New Years Day 2015, following a decision by the council executives in April.

The plans have been backed by Roger Harding, director of Communications Policy and Campaigns at Shelter –a leading housing and homelessness charity.

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He said: “With a third of privately rented properties failing to meet the government’s own standards for decent homes, it’s really good to see that Brent Council is looking at ways to make living conditions better for the thousands of private renters across Brent.

However, Sujata Aurora, of Brent Housing Action, claims the new scheme does not go far enough to tackle derisory conditions some tenants live under.

She said: “The landlord licensing scheme is an attempt to tackle the symptom but not the cause of poor housing conditions.

“The real issue is supply. We need to bring empty properties back into use, build more homes and introduce rent controls.”

If approved, the scheme will also come into effect on January 1 2015. Landlords would be able to apply for licenses from November 1.

Council chiefs are due to discuss the plans at the next cabinet meeting (August 26).