Redbridge consultation launches into controversial property licensing scheme

A row of 'To Let' signs. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/PA Images.

A row of 'To Let' signs. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/PA Images. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A 12-week consultation on two contentious property licensing schemes was launched on Monday.

The council’s proposal is that privately rented properties in Valentines and Clementswood wards - totalling 16.5 per cent of the total private rented sector in Redbridge - be licensed.

The second scheme includes 12 other wards - totalling 62.5pc of the private rented sector - and requires government approval as it is over 20pc of the borough’s area.

Cllr Farah Hussain, cabinet member for housing said: “The introduction of these licensing schemes will make improvements to the way privately rented properties are managed.

“I am confident that licensing will reduce the impact poorly managed properties have on neighbours and the local environment.”

The 12 wards - found to have high levels of migration, crime and poor housing conditions - are Aldborough, Chadwell, Churchend, Cranbrook, Fairlop, Goodmayes, Loxford, Mayfield, Newbury, Roding, Seven Kings and Snaresbrook.

If agreed, both schemes will cover approximately 79 pc of the total private rented sector and 60 pc of the geographical area of the borough.

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The scheme has met with controversy.

Richard Blanco of the National Landlords Association called the scheme a “cynical” attempt to raise fees to fund the council’s private sector housing department.

In April, the cabinet agreed to create a new council-owned housing company aimed at creating thousands of privately-rented homes.

​At the time, Cllr Ross Hatfull, the then cabinet member for housing, payments and benefits, said the company would ensure the council was delivering good quality housing.

He said: “Instead of selling council-owned land to developers, we want to build the developments ourselves.

“We are very keen to increase the number of homes in the borough, and ensure they are of the highest quality for residents.”

This is the council’s second attempt at introducing the scheme, opposed by the Conservative party which wrote a formal objective to the secretary of state last year.

Cllr Paul Canal, (Cons, Bridge) said a scheme covering a fifth of the borough would have been supported but likened the current proposals to a “tax”.

The consultation runs from Monday to Sunday, October 16 and three public meetings will also be held on - Tuesday, August 23, between 5.30pm to 8:30pm at Wanstead Library, Spratt Hall Road, Wanstead, Thursday, September 15, between 5:30pm to 8:30pm at Fullwell Cross Library, High Street, Barkingside, and Wednesday, September 28 between 6pm to 9pm at Seven Kings Library, High Road, Seven Kings.

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