Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Changes have come into effect that extend enforcement of a licensing scheme for larger rented properties. The scheme is designed to target "HMOs" and ensure landlords maintain certain standards in relation to the quality and safety of their properties. However the additional licencing the council have chosen to enforce also capture what may would traditionally see as 'shared houses', ie that might have young professionals or students sharing. 

The Haringey web site is a bit tricky to navigate to get chapter and verse, but broadly the criteria now in force will cover any property that meets the following criteria:

  • HMOs occupied by five persons or more in two or more households, regardless of the number of storeys
  • Purpose built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and one or both are occupied as an HMO

The number of people in an HMO is described differently in a stand alone piece of guidance from Haringey as 3 people in two or more households who may share toilet/ bathroom/ kitchen facilities... This is in relation to the extended licensing scheme the council are implementing too. The map showing what streets are covered in this selective extended scheme shows a lot of streets locally are covered.

If landlords do not have a licence it will be an offence to operate an HMO from 1 October 2018. They can be:

  • Prosecuted and if found guilty be liable to an unlimited fine
  • Incur a Civil Penalty Notice for failing to licence which can impose a fine of up to £30,000
  • Also have their licence period shortened

You can check if a property near you that you may have concerns about is already covered by the scheme- ie, the landlord actually has a license.

What is interesting about this is that there may be a real tool to enforce certain standards of behavior on landlords through the threat to withdraw their license. So landlords can be chased who persistently have their properties looking like a hovel, or who leave and dump rubbish on the streets etc. This could actually be a really useful tool in having landlords treat their tenants well and drive them towards being responsible neighbours.

If there is a house near you you believe is not on the register you can contact the HMO team:

Tags for Forum Posts: hmo, hmo licencing scheme

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Thanks for flagging this Justin.

As I understand it, there are now (or soon will be) three rental property licensing schemes for Haringey. One is in force and has just changed. The other two are proposed and likely to be coming into force soon:

  1. Standard National HMO Licensing - Already in force, previously, this applied to any HMO  that had 3 or more storeys with five or more people living as two or more households and sharing amenities (for example kitchen or bathroom).

    This was changed on 1 October. The 3 storeys element was removed meaning that any HMO occupied by 5 or more individuals (not all related to one another) will require an HMO licence. (Purpose-built flats in multiple occupation situated in a block comprising three or more self-contained flats are excluded). (Link: Standards)

More far-reaching changes are due to go to the council for approval this month:

  1. A borough-wide Additional Licensing Scheme for HMOs - All other HMOs regardless of size, occupied by 3 or more people. (Link: Conditions)
  2. A Selective Licensing Scheme applying to all private rented properties in 29 defined areas across the borough (as shown on the maps you've linked to). This includes large parts of the three wards in Harringay.

I hope I have that right. Every time I look at this, my head spins!

Thanks Justin. I know of a property on our street which I have reported. Really useful insight. 

A bit of personal experience on this.  A house on my street has rubbish (the usual mattresses etc) persistently dumped by the landlord.  I got sick of just reporting it and having it removed so checked the HMO license.  As it had expired in 2017 I got into contact with the HMO team about the problem and they said they would be inviting the landlord to renew it this month.  I asked if, as the ongoing antisocial behaviour was a direct result of the landlord’s actions (and not the tenants), they would be consulting nearby neighbours about the licence and the answer was no.  

If they aren’t going to use local intelligence, which in this case is backed up by an awful lot of solid evidence in the form of dumping reports, what exactly is the point of the scheme?

That's a very good question. Has Zena given an opinion on this?

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