The council is proposing that all houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) should be licensed. A HMO is a house or flat occupied by more than one household (not related or living as a couple) who rent the property and share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. At the moment only certain larger HMOs in Ealing are licensed.
The council is also proposing licensing for all other privately rented homes (not just HMOs) in the five wards of Acton Central, East Acton, South Acton, Southall Green and Southall Broadway. These wards have been selected because they have high numbers of privately rented homes in poor condition and there are significant problems with anti-social behaviour.
The council wants to hear views on the proposals in a 12-week public consultation that runs from Monday 11 January until Sunday 3 April.
Ealing is one of the largest boroughs in London with currently more than 137,000 residential properties. Of these, around 36,000 are rented from private landlords. Census figures for 2011 showed that private renting increased by nearly 70% over ten years from 2001. Under the new proposals a licenced landlord would have to comply with several conditions relating to the management and condition of the property, including gas, electrical, fire safety and the facilities provided. A written tenancy agreement would be required and anti-social behaviour by tenants would not be permitted.
Many people could be affected by the proposed changes, including tenants, landlords, property agents, neighbours, residents and businesses. The council wants to hear from as many people as possible about its proposals.
The consultation will include an online questionnaire, public meetings and interviews with key stakeholders.
The results of the consultation will be used to help shape the council's plans to implement the new licensing schemes in Ealing, subject to further approval by the council’s cabinet.
Councillor Ranjit Dheer, cabinet member for safety, culture and community services, said: “All our residents deserve decent, safe homes to live in, and we are determined to raise standards in the borough’s private rented sector to help us achieve this.
“Underlying the proposals to expand the private rental licensing scheme in Ealing is the serious issue of poorly managed properties which pave the way for sub-standard living conditions and anti-social behaviour. Our proposals will give us the opportunity to drive up standards and robustly tackle unscrupulous landlords.
“We are keen to hear people’s views on this issue. No matter what your experience, you can help us to shape the future of the borough’s growing private rented sector. I urge everyone to visit our website and take part in our public consultation.”