Accredited Landlord Scheme
7 Feb 2013
Trusted and reputable landlords from across Dorset will soon
be able to sign up to a new Dorset Register of Accredited Landlords.
Working with a number of national landlord organisations, Bournemouth
Council is the first local authority in England to launch the
regional scheme which will encourage landlords to become accredited
with an approved organisation and then be included on the Dorset
Register, made available for local residents to view.
To become registered, landlords will have to meet certain requirements
including signing up to a code of conduct as well as taking part
in regular professional development and in turn will benefit from
being publicised on the register. Other benefits will vary from
Council to Council, in Bournemouth they will include discounted
HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) licence fees, access to grants
for free insulation and priority with a new housing benefit system.
Poole, Christchurch, East Dorset and Purbeck Councils have also
signed up to the scheme and a register of accredited landlords
for the area will be listed on each of the local authority's websites.
Councillor Robert Lawton, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "We're
committed to raising the standard of accommodation in the private
rented sector and the new Dorset Register aims to work with local
landlords to encourage as many as possible to sign up to the scheme.
Working closely with the accreditation bodies we can ensure that
landlords are fully aware of their legal requirements and ensure
that properties are well managed. This will free up more time
for the Council to focus its efforts on tackling problem properties."
Bournemouth is working with the National Landlords Association,
Residential Landlords Association Accreditation Scheme and the
National Landlord Accreditation Scheme. Once a landlord is accredited
with one of the three accredited bodies they can apply to be included
on the Dorset register.
A statement on behalf of the three accreditation bodies working
with the Council, said: "We are extremely pleased to join
Bournemouth Council in establishing this new Dorset-wide landlord
register to help promote improvements to the private rented sector.
The register will make it very easy for local residents to view
a list of trusted and professional landlords who provide good
quality and well managed accommodation in Dorset."
More information can be found at: www.bournemouth.gov.uk/accreditedlandlords
Housing issues in the Winton and Charminster
Bournemouth Borough council has issued the following
release today 19 November:
Targeted enforcement, landlord accreditation and
more partnership working is being considered to improve housing
conditions and the standards of management of Houses in Multiple
Occupation (HMOs) in Bournemouth.
The Council has been investigating a range of options
to tackle a variety of issues raised by residents in the Winton
and Charminster area about the poor conditions of HMOs as well
as other community-related issues such as noise, unsightly gardens,
anti-social behaviour and letting boards.
Councillors will be considering at Cabinet (20 November)
an approach which combines the robust use of enforcement powers
with improved partnership working and a wider Landlord Accreditation
Scheme to improve HMOs in the Winton East, Wallisdown and Winton
West and Queens Park wards. This could mean that a designated
officer would be assigned to the Winton wards to carry out targeted
enforcement, engage with landlords, partners and the community
to improve housing conditions and deal with residents' concerns
about the area.
The suggestion follows public consultation which
found that many people felt that tougher action should be taken
against landlords who do not maintain or properly manage their
properties. The problems of noise nuisance, anti-social behaviour,
parking and rubbish bins were also highlighted.
Councillor Robert Lawton, Cabinet Member for Housing,
said: "We are committed to tackling the problems that residents
have highlighted in their wards. It was very clear from feedback
through the public consultation that local residents, partners
and landlords wanted tougher action to be taken to tackle these
issues. After investigating a range of options, including Additional
Licensing for HMOs, the Council is now considering a combination
of the options, including targeted enforcement action, a stronger
landlord accreditation scheme and closer working with the police,
university and the community to bring about the improvements called
Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association,
said: "The NLA welcomes Bournemouth Council's proposals to
work collaboratively with landlords, letting agents and the local
community in order to improve standards.
"It is essential that Bournemouth Borough Council
uses its existing powers to enforce standards wherever necessary,
and does not hesitate to prosecute the criminals who exploit people
in need of housing. Equally, landlords must show their professionalism
by continuing to strive for high standards through landlord accreditation
and continued professional development.
Bournemouth University and Arts University College
joint statement:"Bournemouth University (BU) and the Arts
University College at Bournemouth (AUCB) make a substantial economic
and social contribution to the local area and many of our students
are involved in voluntary and community work.
"However, we recognise that anti-social behaviour
from a small minority of our students can impact substantially
on the community. Over the past few years BU and AUCB have been
working very closely with the council and police to try to tackle
this and we already fund dedicated police officers and out of
hours Environmental Health Office support.
"BU and AUCB recognise that there is
more to be done and therefore we remain committed to our partnership
work with local community services, wholeheartedly support this
initiative and will continue to contribute to the funding of community
The dedicated officer for Winton would be part funded
(£15,000) by Bournemouth University
Public consultation took place between 2 July and
7 October 2012.
There are 1,020 known HMOs in the three Winton wards.
A House in Multiple Occupation, (HMO) is a
property which is occupied by three or more people forming two
or more households, where facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms
are normally shared. It may include bedsits, shared houses and
some converted buildings containing flats.
HMO Consultation: July - October 2012
Local residents, groups, businesses and landlords
are being asked to have their say on a proposed scheme to improve
housing conditions and the standards of management of Houses in
Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Bournemouth.
The Council is considering the options available
to help improve the living conditions for tenants living in HMOs
in Winton East, Wallisdown and Queen's Park. These areas have
been identified as having a large number of HMOs where more work
needs to be done to improve housing conditions and help deal with
Currently, Bournemouth operates a mandatory licensing
scheme for larger HMOs (homes that are three or more storeys and
occupied by five or more people forming two or more separate households).
It is now considering the introduction of an 'Additional Licensing'
scheme as one of the options for the area. This will mean that
all other HMOs in the three wards identified will have to be licensed.
Consultation will start next week and the public
are urged to share their views and give feedback on the proposed
The benefits of an Additional Licensing scheme include:
* Any landlord operating an HMO in the area would
have to apply for a licence to operate, enabling the Council to
ensure standards are maintained
* It will improve the standard of HMOs in the area,
including health and safety of the occupants, provision of amenities
and external appearance of the property
* It enables the Council to specify the maximum
number of persons who can occupy a property
* The Council can attach conditions relating to
the management, including requiring the landlord to take steps
to prevent or reduce anti-social behaviour of occupiers and people
visiting the property
* Provides contact details for all HMO landlords
that will enable a better working relationship between the Council
and landlords in dealing with, and resolving issues.
Public consultation has been extended to take place
from Monday 2 July until Sunday, 7 October 2012.
More information and a questionnaire can be found
A hard copy of the questionnaire is also available
from all Bournemouth libraries or Council reception points, or
call 01202 451430 to request a copy.
Notes from Council Leader John Beesley on Houses
in Multiple Occupation - HMOs
- HMOs make an important contribution in the provision of affordable
accommodation in the community, especially for single person
households. This provision will become particularly necessary
following the changes to the local housing allowance.
- Bournemouth has always been pro-active in ensuring standards
are maintained in HMOs with comprehensive inspection programmes
in place. Bournemouth was the first Council in the country to
develop a registration scheme for HMOs.
- A Landlord Accreditation Scheme was first introduced in Bournemouth
in 2004. The scheme is a form of self-regulation that acknowledges
good landlords. It is a successful way to help improve and maintain
standards in the private rented sector.
- Certain types of HMO are required to be licensed with the
Council under a national, mandatory scheme. These are the larger
multi-occupied properties which are three storeys or more and
are occupied by 5 or more residents who form two or more households.
There are currently around 500 licensed HMOs in the borough.
- Following detailed consultation with landlords, community
groups and other stakeholders, fully revised HMO Amenity Standards
were introduced in April 2010.
- The majority of the HMOs known to the Council are concentrated
in the Boscombe and Winton areas. The issues associated with
them tend to differ between the areas.
- The Council works in partnership with the Police, the university,
residents groups and ward councillors to minimise the impact
of the high density of HMOs in the Winton area.
Article 4 Direction (Planning Controls for HMOs)
- An 'Article 4 Direction' is a planning tool, used in conjunction
with policies set out in the Local Development Framework Core
Strategy that can be used to remove permitted development rights
from a particular development.
- An Article 4 Direction was introduced in Bournemouth in December
2011 which removed the permitted development rights for a change
of use of a dwelling house within use class C3 to an HMO within
use class C4 (one which is occupied with 3-6 occupants sharing
- This means that any new HMO containing between 3 - 6 occupants
will now require planning permission. It will not have any impact
on existing HMOs but will enable the council to limit the number
of new HMOs where there is already a high saturation in the
The Oxford Initiative (Additional Licensing
- Councils can designate areas for additional licensing in respect
of some or all of the HMOs that are not already subject to mandatory
licensing. In 2010 the requirement for government approval for
a scheme changed to local councils making the decision.
- Before designating an area for licensing, extensive research
and consultation needs to be carried out. There must be a sound
business case and the Council must be able to show a significant
proportion of the HMOs in the area are giving rise to problems
due to their poor management.
- Problems may include poor external condition, poor internal
conditions impacting on the occupiers, problems of anti social
behaviour and landlords not taking reasonable and lawful steps
to deal with issues.
- HMOs are a major concern in Oxford and the city council has
introduced a city wide additional licensing scheme to tackle
the poor conditions there. The council had used all their existing
powers to their full extent and concluded that they needed to
do more to improve the quality and standard of management of
- Bournemouth is now giving consideration to how a similar scheme
could be developed for Bournemouth, including the areas it may
apply to and the timescales for introduction.
- The Council will carry out full consultation with stakeholders,
community groups, landlords and Bournemouth residents before
any scheme is introduced.
Student Housing in Oxford under
Oxford has decided to use the Additional Licensing
provision in the 2004 Act to make all its HMOs licensable. This
is in order to control the spread of HMOs and to regulate
their use and standards.
According to the Oxford City Council Website:
They form an unusually high percentage of houses in
the city with 1 in 5 of the resident population living in an
HMO. The House Condition Survey 2005 reported that HMOs provided
the poorest homes in the city and that 70 per cent were unsafe.
HMOs generate over 2000 service requests/complaints a year
to Oxford City Council and the number of complaints have risen
steadily over recent years, despite surveys indicating many
problems go unreported. They are also associated with issues
that affect the neighborhood such as rubbish.
Many three storey HMOs are already licensed under
the existing licensing rules. However, Councillor Joe McManners,
Executive Member for Housing said:
Local residents in Oxford have told us
that the Council needs to do more to control the impact of HMOs
and weve listened to what theyve had to say. Weve
tried using all our existing powers but they havent been
enough to make the difference that is needed. We believe that
additional licensing will provide us with those extra powers
that we need and that it will have a really positive impact.
Our aim is to improve the living conditions for tenants within
HMOs as they provide the worst accommodation in the City.
In 2005, Oxford City Council undertook a housing
condition survey that claimed that 70 per cent of HMOs were 'unsafe',
61.3 per cent had below standard fire detection and 16.9 per cent
had no fire detection at all.
It is hope that the HMO licensing will help to regulate
unsafe housing and end the exploitation of students by landlords
who provide it. It is hope that this new legislations will encourage
universities to provide more purpose-built accommodation, as it
is a more efficient use of land and leads to reduced tension between
different types of housing and different types of residents.
The consultation ended in March 2011 and it will
now take until 2012 to be implemented as the council is giving
a year's notice of the change. Until then there is no evidence
of the schemes success or failure.
The cost of HMO licensing
At about £591,931 per year, the scheme will
be quite expensive, although the Council state that it will be
covered by the licensing fees. However others are not so sure.
Jan Bartlett, owner of Cowley Road firm Premier Letting, speaking
in the Oxford Mail said that the cost could be prohibitive if
landlords dont pay the license fees:
The scheme will be difficult to police and bad landlords
just wont sign up
She suggested that the Local Authority save money
by using local letting agents to police the scheme instead of
hiring new staff. Although presumably she is not suggesting that
agents perform this public service for nothing.
PainSmith Solicitors along with Jonathan Manning
and Justin Bates of Arden Chambers were been instructed by a group
of Oxford landlords, lettings agents, and other interested parties
to pursue an action for judicial review of Oxford City Councils
decision to make an additional licensing designation for the whole
PainSmith asserted that the scheme, if carried forward
as currently planned, would leave many landlords with their properties
designated as HMOs but because Oxford intends to phase
licence applications over the next 3-4 years these landlords would
not be able to apply for a licence. This would, as a consequence,
place these landlords in breach of the law and further make them
unable to serve a valid notice under section 21 of the Housing
Act 1988 on their tenants. This situation cannot be what the Council
intends and is simply irrational.