Lambeth agrees plans to deliver better standards for private renters

17 May 2024

Written by: Lambeth Council

Council statements and updates - Housing and planning - News and announcements - Post Type

Lambeth is pressing ahead with plans to tackle rogue landlords and improve conditions for people living in private rented accommodation, after councillors approved a new licensing scheme for properties in parts of the borough.

Main post content

Lambeth agrees plans to deliver better standards for private renters

The council’s Cabinet has agreed that a Selective Licensing Scheme should be introduced in four wards, in a bid to improve property conditions and management, and tackle problems including anti-social behaviour (ASB) and deprivation.

From September, landlords will need a licence and meet the conditions associated to legally let any property to a single-family household or no more than two unrelated sharers in this “Selective Licensing Designation 1” – Knights Hill, Streatham Common & Vale, Streatham Hill East, and Streatham St Leonards.

The Cabinet has also agreed to consider spreading the benefits to householders throughout Lambeth in the future, by rolling the scheme out to a further 19 wards.

A report on the scheme, presented to a Cabinet meeting this week [16 May],
said the scheme was also in line with the council’s Borough Plan commitment to make Lambeth a place we can all call home.

It added: “In terms of the PRS [Private Rented Sector], this includes not only tackling rogue landlords, tackling property conditions but also supporting good landlords and tenants that need assistance. Selective Licensing is one mechanism that can be used to achieve these objectives.”

Around a third of the 144,985 residential dwellings in Lambeth are in the Private Rented Sector, and official data has shown that over 9,446 of these are predicted to have a serious home hazard. The council has also received over 10,000 complaints of ASB-related incidents in the PRS over a three-year period.

Analysis of the borough’s rental sector found that all wards in Lambeth have above the national percentage of PRS and are therefore eligible to be considered for Selective Licensing. Only Vauxhall and Waterloo & Southbank did not meet the criteria that defines poor property conditions, to allow them to be considered for any designation.

Responses received during a 12-week consultation on the proposals suggested that almost two-thirds of residents and local businesses approved of the proposals for introducing licensing in the first four wards – and the 19 earmarked in the second phase. The council has agreed to charge a fee of £923 per licence, covering the cost of administering the licence over a five-year period, and managing and enforcing the licensing regime.

Word from the Cabinet

Cllr Mahamed Hashi, Cabinet member for Safer Communities, said Lambeth was one of the most deprived boroughs in London in terms of housing affordability, overcrowding and homelessness.

He added: “Privately renting is often the only option for residents who can’t access social housing and aren’t able to purchase their own property. This scheme will see more support for vulnerable residents, help reduce overcrowding and improved premises conditions. Ultimately, it will lead to better housing for our residents

“Whilst most landlords provide good quality, safe accommodation, there are some who take advantage of their tenants or don’t know what their responsibilities are. Licensing will help us crack down on rogue landlords and take decisive action against housing offences.

“It will also give us the opportunity to proactively investigate cases of mould and damp, to ensure all privately-rented properties comply with the requirements.”