Rent it Right - Property Licensing Schemes

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Rent it Right is the London Borough of Bexley working in partnership with local landlords and agents to meet Bexley’s growing housing need.

There are three Rent it Right schemes:

  1. Private Rented Property Licensing Scheme
  2. Private sector leasing scheme
  3. Cash incentive scheme

Landlords who fail to licence their property correctly run the risk of being prosecuted or having a civil penalty notice (CPN) of up to £30,000 imposed.

The London Borough of Bexley has two licensing schemes for privately rented properties:

Selective licensing

The London Borough of Bexley has designated a selective licensing scheme applying to all private rented properties which include Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) not covered by the HMO licensing scheme, in four areas:

  • Thamesmead North
  • Abbey Wood
  • Lower Belvedere
  • Parts of Erith

The scheme came into force on the 1 October 2018. The following document is a copy of the selective licence designation notice (PDF, 1MB).

Below are detailed maps of the four selective licensing areas:

Visit Selective property licensing search to see if a property requires a selective licence.

HMO licensing

Mandatory HMO licensing applies to all HMOs where there are five or more people who form more than one household.

HMOs and Planning

If you want to operate a house as an HMO, it must have the correct class of planning use.

If you are converting your property into an HMO speak to our planning department by emailing DevelopmentControl@bexley.gov.uk before starting work.

There is no guarantee that your planning application will be approved. If you are refused planning permission we cannot refund your licence fee.

The following section has important information for landlords and agents. It sets out the criteria landlords/property licence holders need to meet and the standards for licensed properties.

Failure to license properties that need to be licensed is an offence. The council has a range of powers to enforce its property licensing schemes. 

There are three criteria that need to be met:

1. Properties must comply with the rent it right standards (PDF, 121KB) and conditions (PDF, 115KB)

2. Licence holders and agents must be a ‘fit and proper’ person. Section 66 of the Housing act 2004, sets out the evidence that the council must have regard to and the Guide to completing an online application form (PDF, 148KB) directs you to further information on what this means

3. Licence holders or agents are required to be accredited within 12 months of the licence being issued

Licence holders can become accredited with one of the following organisations:

  • London Landlord Accreditation Scheme (LLAS) 
  • Accreditation and Training for Landlord and Agents Service (ATLAS) 
  • National Landlords Association (NLA)
  • Residential Landlords Association (RLA)
  • Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
  • National Approved Lettings Scheme (NALS)
  • UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA)

Accreditation is different to just being a member of these organisations and involves demonstrating a level of competence; it usually means you need to successfully complete an accreditation training course prior to becoming accredited. Landlords should check their membership status with the organisation if they are unsure. 

To maintain accreditation, landlords must complete Continuing Professional Development. This usually means at least 10 hours of training a year.

Landlords who become accredited before applying for a licence are eligible for a £50 discount.

Exemptions from Licensing

Some dwellings and lettings are excluded from licensing requirements, for example:

  • where the tenancies or licences are granted by registered social landlords and housing providers, including most housing associations and the Council
  • tenancies or licences granted by police, fire brigade or health service body
  • university/college accommodation occupied by students and controlled by the university/college
  • where the owner or their relatives occupy a property on a long leasehold
  • where a family member rents the property from you (evidence will need to be provided, for example birth certificates or an affidavit)
  • long lease tenancies, where a landlord grants a lease for a term of over 21 years to a tenant
  • properties leased to a local authority on a private sector lease and used as temporary accommodation.

For full details of all the exemptions that apply please see the Guide to completing an online application form (PDF, 148KB).

Landlords who are on the cash incentives scheme are not exempt from property licensing and need to apply for a licence prior to the property being occupied.

Guide to Property Licensing

The Guide to completing an online application form (PDF, 148KB) provides further details about what documents you need to provide as part of the licensing process and explain what happens once you've submitted an application.

Licence fees

The cost of a licence comprises of an initial fee of £305 for processing the licence application which is non-refundable. Successful applications will attract a further fee payable before the grant of a licence, which covers a contribution towards the costs of operating the respective licensing schemes.

Type of licence Selective Mandatory HMO
Licence fee

£730
(£305 + £425)

£305 plus £145 per letting

Renewals fee

N/A £305 plus £87 per letting

Public Register

The Council has a duty under section 232 of the Housing Act 2004 to maintain a public register of all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences and Selective licences, together with any temporary exemption notices served and details of any interim or final management orders made.

The resister will include the name and address of the licence holders and any management agents who appear on the licence. The council will use the name and address on the application form for the register, if landlords or agents want to provide an alternative address then they should contact the council.

Apply for a property licence

To apply for a property licence, please use the links below and select the relevant licence type. Applicants are advised to log in and save their applications. 

Apply for an HMO Licence

Apply for a Selective Licence

Apply to renew an HMO Licence

Log in to view saved applications

If you need any help with completing the application form or have any further questions or queries, please either complete a form and a member of our property licensing team will respond directly to you or call the team direct on 020 3045 3456:

 

Rent it Right enquiries

 

Variations

Following the granting of the licence, the Council can vary the licence either by agreement with the licence holder or if it considers that there has been a change in circumstances since the time the licence was granted. The Council must notify all relevant persons and then consider any representations it receives. Following the variation of the licence, the decision can be appealed by a relevant person. Details of how to appeal the variation to the residential property tribunal will be provided.

Renewals

The council will write to licence holders shortly before their HMO licence expires to remind them they need to apply for a licence renewal. Landlords can apply to renew their licences by clicking on the links above.

If licence holders fail to apply for their HMO licence before it expires, then the council will treat it as a new licence application and landlords will not be eligible for the HMO licence renewal discount.

Failure to license a property is a criminal offence and the Council may take prosecution proceedings or impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000. On conviction, the Court may impose an unlimited fine. 

If convicted of operating a property without a licence (or the council is satisfied that the offence has been committed even though the landlord has not been prosecuted), the council can reclaim any benefits paid when you were operating without a licence by applying for a Rent Repayment Order. Similarly, tenants (including former tenants) are also allowed to make an application for a Rent Repayment Order where landlords have been convicted of the offence or where a Rent Repayment Order has already been granted to the council on the same property.

Failure to licence a property will also have implications on evicting tenants from the property because under section 75 of the Housing Act 2004, no section 21 notice served under the Housing Act 1988 may be given in relation to a shorthold tenancy for an unlicensed HMO. 
 

If you live in a privately rented property that isn’t being kept in a safe condition and your landlord is not carrying out repairs the Rent it Right team can assist with this. We will inspect your property to assess potential risks to health and safety and where necessary require landlords to make any repairs/improvements. 

Examples of problems the team deals with include: fire safety, damp and mould, electrical safety and defective gas boilers.

Your landlord needs to make sure licensed properties comply with the rent it right standards (PDF, 121KB) and conditions (PDF, 115KB).

You can check if your rented property has a licence by looking at the public register which has a list of the properties that the council has licensed. 

If you think that your property needs a licence or it isn’t in good repair and fails to meet the necessary standards and conditions please get in contact with us so we can investigate this. 

The GLA has a rogue landlord checker that you can access.

The council has a range of powers to enforce the two schemes, these are set out in the Housing Standards Enforcement Policy (PDF, 362KB).

The Council is identifying and visiting unlicensed properties; landlords who fail to licence their properties run the risk of being prosecuted or having a civil penalty notice (CPN) of up to £30,000 imposed. 

The GLA has launched the rogue landlord and agent checker database to name and shame unscrupulous private landlords and letting agents who have been prosecuted or fined for housing offences such as allowing homes to fall into a bad or dangerous condition. Any prosecutions or CPNs made by Bexley Council will be added to the GLA rogue landlord checker