Unlicensed properties

It is a criminal offence to let a property that is required to be licensed without applying for a licence. A property must be licensed unless the licence is revoked or the landlord is no longer the owner of the property.

We work closely with the police, London Fire Brigade and other agencies to identify unlicensed properties. We will also carry out compliance visits to all licensed properties.

There are a range of sanctions for operating without a licence, depending on the circumstances. Failure to apply for a licence can lead to a fine. Landlords renting properties in the borough who have not applied or paid for a private rented property licence may only be eligible to for a one year licence and are at risk of prosecution.

If we cannot grant a licence or a licence is revoked, we have the power to make an interim management order (IMO). The IMO will transfer the management of the property to the council for a specified period, after which a final management order (FMO) may be made.

An unlicensed landlord is not able to use the section 21 possession procedure, which entitles them to regain possession of the property without a court hearing, following the service of a valid notice giving the tenant at least two months’ notice.

For any period where an unlicensed property is privately rented, an application can be made to the residential property tribunal for a rent repayment order, which could mean a landlord having to repay up to 12 months of rent to the tenants. Where we have taken enforcement action, a licence may be revoked or varied and may require a new application for all licence types.

Licensing conditions for approval

We must be satisfied that the property to be licensed must be reasonably suitable for occupation. Refer to the private rented property licensing conditions before completing your application, to ensure that your property meets the standards.

The proposed licence holder must be a fit and proper person to be the licence holder and must be the most appropriate person to hold the licence. It could be the landlord, the person receiving the rent or the person in control of the property.

It is preferred (though not essential) that the proposed licence holder submits this application. The proposed management arrangements for the house must be otherwise satisfactory.