Mayor of London launches licence checker

Yesterday 18 November, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched a licence checker online tool which aims to protect the ‘wellbeing of London’s private renters’ to help them discover if their landlord has properly licensed their home.

Property licensing is a tool that boroughs can use to enforce decent standards in the private rented sector. Some privately rented homes in London need a property licence and the landlord of that property is responsible for obtaining it. Holding the correct property licence is a legal requirement and demonstrates that the property is suitable for occupation and managed to an acceptable standard.

Enforcement action

If a landlord does not hold the correct property licence, they may be subject to enforcement action from their local council, but the implications for renters are also significant: Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notices are invalidated and they may be entitled to a Rent Repayment Order requiring a landlord to pay back up to 12 months’ rent. The current average rent in London is around £1,425 per month, meaning a year’s worth of repaid rent would come to more than £17,000.

With nearly a fifth of London’s private rented accommodation not meeting basic standards, it is vital that every privately rented property is licensed so landlords can be held to account for the conditions their tenants live in.

My new Property Licence Checker is a key part of my work to redress the imbalance of power that currently exists in the London private rented sector. London’s renters deserve to live in safe, secure, comfortable accommodation, whilst councils need the tools to deal with rogue operators.

That’s why I’m calling on the Government to give City Hall the power to consider and approve new licensing schemes in London. This would help create more consistency in property licensing across London, creating a more transparent system for landlords and better protections for London’s private renters, who time and again are treated as an afterthought by ministers.

Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan Photo © Greater London Authority

31 Jan 2019
Fact sheet: Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation

In May 2015, the UK Government announced that they would extend mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to address poor conditions and overcrowding.

07 Aug 2018
Fact sheet: Additional Licensing

The Housing Act 2004 introduced licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Additional licensing is when a local authority can impose a licence on other categories of HMOs in its area which are not subject to mandatory licensing.

The online tool

The Checker hopes to empower renters and also provide intelligence to help boroughs target their enforcement against rogue landlords – especially those who have failed to register licences for larger houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), where some of the poorest property conditions are found in London.

The online tool can be found on the Mayor of London’s website below.