- Need help with your housing or you are homeless
- Homeless or facing eviction from a property
- Social housing
- Housing support
- Renting a room or property
- Moving house
- Rough sleeping
- Asylum seekers
- Older persons housing service
- Staying Put
- Disabled persons housing service
- Affordable home ownership options
- Information for landlords
- Housing conditions and property licences
- Housing strategy
- Bexley Housing Association Group (BEXHAG)
Housing conditions and property licences
The Private Sector Housing team deal with requests for advice and assistance from tenants regarding the condition of their housing.
They will inspect properties to assess potential risks to health and safety, and where necessary require landlords to make any necessary repairs/improvements. Examples of problems that the team deal with include: leaking roofs causing dampness; defective gas boilers
The team will also investigate complaints about the conditions of neighbouring properties where:
- It affects another property eg dampness as a result of a leaking gutter
- It is vacant
- There are concerns about the welfare of the person living at the property and their difficulties in coping are affecting others, for example as a result of flies, odour, vermin and disrepair
The team provides advice and support to owner-occupiers and leaseholders who are responsible for their own repairs.
Advice is provided to prospective landlords about standards they need to meet before renting property and about schemes Bexley has to help and encourage landlords to bring their property back into use.
Further advice and information regarding empty properties is available from the left hand menu.
The Housing Act 2004 introduced the mandatory licensing of certain properties. From 6 April 2006 landlords of certain 'houses in multiple occupation' (HMOs) need to obtain a licence in order to rent out their property.
A licensing guide for landlords is available to download from the right hand menu.
What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?
The Housing Act 2004 changed the definition of an HMO. An HMO means a building, or part of a building, such as a flat, that:
- Is occupied by more than one household and where more than one household share, or lack an amenity, such as a bathroom, toilet or cooking facilities
- Is occupied by more than one household and which is a converted building that does not entirely comprise self-contained flats (whether or not there is also a sharing or lack of facilities
- Is converted self-contained flats, but does not meet as a minimum standard the requirements of the 1991 Building Regulations, and at least one third of the flats are occupied under short tenancies
Houses or buildings occupied by only one household are not HMOs.
A household is defined as persons of the same family (including single people, couples and same sex couples, additional relationships such as fostering, carers and domestic staff).
Which HMOs need to be licensed?
Only certain HMOs are required to be licensed. Licenses are required for HMOs that are:
- Three or more storeys high (a storey includes basements, loft conversions and storeys comprising business premises) and
- Have five or more persons who comprise two or more households and
- Share a basic amenity such as a bathroom, toilet or kitchen
Who needs to obtain a licence?
It is the responsibility of owners and managers of licensable HMOs to apply to the Council for the licence. An application form is being finalised and will be available online soon or you can contact the Council and request an application form to be sent as soon as one is available.
The fees have yet to be agreed but are likely to be in the region of a base fee of £600 per property containing five or less units of accommodation plus an additional £25 per additional unit of accommodation. A base fee of £400 will be charged where the landlord makes an application without first being approached by the Council.
Subsequent applications made by the same landlord for additional properties or renewal of existing licences will be charged at £300. The Licence will normally last for five years.
Offences and fines
It is an offence, if the landlord or person in control of the property:
- Fails to apply for a licence for a licensable property
- Allows a property to be occupied by more people than are permitted under the licence
A fine of up to £20 000 may be imposed for failing to obtain a licence. The breaking of licence conditions can result in fines up to £5000. Action can also be taken to recover rent paid during the unlicensed period.
Exemptions from licensing
There are some exemptions- for instance, buildings occupied by a resident landlord and his family with up to two tenants.
If you are unsure as to whether your property requires a licence or you require assistance or advice in respect of housing conditions please contact the Private Sector Housing team at the address or phone number shown in the contact details section.
- Environmental Health Full details for Environmental Health