Luton votes in licensing for all HMOs

Luton councillors are accused of running a sham house in multiple occupation (HMO) consultation and failing to answer the concerns of critics.

Luton Council has released details of a borough-wide additional licensing scheme for HMOs starting from August 1, 2013.

The scheme calls for every HMO to apply for a five-year licence and is aimed at improving housing standards in the Bedfordshire town.

Small HMOs for three or more tenants sharing are included under the later phases of the scheme.

But the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) claims the council failed to provide evidence that the licensing scheme is necessary and has ignored freedom of information requests to provide the figures required to back the plan.

In March, the RLA sent a 34-point letter about the consultation document to the council.

“The fact that the proposal is to extend the scheme to the whole of the borough is of particular concern. The level of problems referred to do not in any way, in our view, justify the imposition of additional HMO licensing. The resulting bureaucratic procedures and costs would be totally dis-proportionate to the kind of issues referred to in the consultation,” said the RLA.

The RLA asked the council to hand over figures about crime linked to HMOs, HMO landlord prosecutions and the licensing scheme running costs.

The request was made in March 2013 and remained unanswered on May 20, 2013.

“We’re concerned the consultation was a charade and that the council intended to bring in additional licensing whatever the results,” said the RLA.

The council voted to impose additional licensing on April 15.

Licensing will be imposed in four stages:

  • Phase 1 – three or more storey properties housing less than five persons forming two or more households.Properties falling into this category will require a licence from August 1,  2013.
  • Phase 2 – two storey properties housing five or more persons forming two or more households
  • Phase 3 – two storey properties housing four persons forming two or more households.
  • Phase 4 – two storey properties housing three persons forming two or more households.

For more information, go to the RLA website  or the Luton Council web site

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