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Newham commit to renewing borough-wide licensing scheme

Friday 30 June 2017

Following an extensive consultation, Newham Council have taken the decision to introduce Selective Licensing for landlords and letting agents in the London Borough of Newham.

ARLA Propertymark has received notification from Newham Council in London that the Mayor has approved the introduction of two Selective Licensing Schemes covering the whole of the Borough and the introduction of an Additional (HMO) Licensing Scheme, except for the E20 (East Village development) area.

Newham is important to the sector because in 2009 it became the first local authority in the country to introduce borough-wide licensing, which requires all landlords to licence all private rented property. Newham Council say that since 2009 the number of households in the borough reliant on the private rented sector has doubled from 23% to 46% in 2016. 

ARLA Propertymark acknowledges that Newham Council has done better than most councils in enforcing the existing scheme. However, since the introduction of licensing in 2013, Newham Council has only banned 28 landlords and taken 930 prosecutions against landlords in a private rented sector that is now estimated to provide accommodation to 60,000 households. Therefore we can only conclude that the scheme has come into difficulties and has not achieved its aims. As a result we are sceptical that introducing another licensing scheme is the best way to tackle the problems that Newham faces. 

Selective Licensing

The original scheme comes to an end in December and because the new schemes are borough-wide, under the Housing Act 2004, Newham Council must ask for approval from the Secretary of State before they can be implemented.

Although there is no central database, we know that Selective Licensing Schemes are a common tool that local authorities are using to help tackle issues in the private rented sector, and consequently all members should be aware of them.

To help members understand what Selective Licensing means we have produced two unique Fact Sheets for England and Wales – this is a member benefit and only available to members of ARLA Propertymark. Log into the members area now to find out more.

Additional Licensing Scheme

Under Newham’s Additional Licensing Scheme, all privately rented houses in multiple occupation in the area need a licence in order to legally operate. The scheme will come into force on 1 January 2018 and run until 31 December 2022.

We strongly advise that all letting agents, landlords and tenants within Newham contact Newham Council’s Private Housing Team to find out whether their property is affected. Newham Council Property Licensing Team can be contacted on 020 3373 1950, you can email them at or visit their website for more information.

ARLA Propertymark responded to Newham’s consultation, outlining that we are not supportive of licensing schemes and would prefer local authorities like Newham to adopt collaborative approaches to tackling issues within the private rented sector.

Further details about the schemes in Newham, including how to apply, can be found here.