Thursday, October 26, 2006

Licensing lemmings

On my researches on the internet I keep reading about how landlords are selling up to avoid licensing. But is this really the case? When speaking this afternoon to Dave Princeps, Operations Manager at Camden Environmental Heath Section and Chair of the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme, I asked him what he thought about it.

"Its quite true" he told me. "Some landlords seem to be terrified of the licensing scheme and are selling their properties at a loss to avoid licensing. Some other landlords are making quite a killing, buying up these properties. Seems silly to me".

Silly indeed. As he pointed out, the cost of licensing (which even with the most expensive local authority works out at less than £1 per tenant per week) is probably far less than the losses which some of these landlords are taking on their properties, as they rush lemming like to sell them.

Mind you, I forgot to ask him about the washbasin problem. Schedule 3 of the Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006 (section 2.2) provides for every unit of living accommodation of an HMO where there are five or more occupiers, to contain a wash hand basin. This apparently is causing some problems, as in many cases it would prove difficult and expensive to put a wash hand basin in every room as appears to be being required in the statute. Different authorities apparently are taking different attitudes to this. Some are taking a strict view, others less so.

So perhaps this is another reason why so many HMO landlords are throwing in the towel. Still maybe the purchasers of their properties will have made a sufficient profit on the deal with to enable them to get this work done should it prove necessary.

It is to be hoped however that the properties do not go out of letting altogether. As I mentioned in my earlier post accommodation is badly needed, HMO accommodation in particular.

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