On June 15th, Newham council extended its additional licensing area.
The council exercised its power under section 56 of the Housing Act 2006 which applies to all private rented and occupied Houses in Multiple Occupation. The extended designation will be in force for 5 years commencing in January 2018. A map of the designated area can be found here. The designation area includes all of Newham other than the Olympic Park.
Once the new designation is in force any person who operates a licensable property without a licence, or allows a licensed property to be occupied by more households or persons other than as authorised by the licence, may be liable to prosecution and upon summary conviction is liable to an unlimited fine. Furthermore, a person who breaches a condition of any licence is liable upon summary conviction to an unlimited fine. Alternatively, under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, the council will be able to serve a fixed penalty notice for up to £30,000 for any such breach.
We have posted many blogs on Houses in Multiple Occupation and licensing, the latest of which can be found here. While this designation only applies to most of Newham these powers do seem to have a ripple effect and Newham is often seen as a leading local authority in London. Additional licensing has been spreading generally and so agents and landlords should ensure that they regularly check designations in their local boroughs to ensure that they are compliant with their local Houses in Multiple Occupation designation.
Agents are advised that if they are collecting the rent then they are liable for the licensing status of any private rental or occupied property. Consequently, agents may find it difficult to defend a prosecution on the basis that it was the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a license.