For those of you who read my articles regularly, you may recall that at the beginning of the year I reported some interesting statistics on the number of HMO license approvals being granted across the country. Incase you don’t, the stats showed that over the past 12 months, 18,984 HMO license applications were made to 90 local councils. Of which, 99.4% were approved. This sparked my interest, to say the least, particularly as 72% of local councils have absolutely no idea how many landlords are in breach of the HMO licensing rules. So I submitted a Freedom Of Information request to Medway Council to obtain specific data on Medway HMOs.
The FOI response provided some intriguing results. You can read the full article here but the headlines were that in 2018:
- 40 HMO licence applications were made to the Medway Council
- 40 HMO licence applications were approved.
- NO landlords had broken HMO licensing law in the past 12 months.
- NO prosecution were made for not meeting HMO licensing regulations in 2018.
So forty new HMO licenses were granted and there was not one breach of the HMO regulations. 100% approval and 100% compliance. If you detect a little hint of sarcasm in my tone, you wouldn’t be wrong. While I wish these statistics were true, through my network of landlords and associates, I know it simply isn’t. But I wanted to know more about the statistics and numbers of HMOs registered with Medway Council, so I requested more detail. And this is the result:
There are a total of 127 HMOs currently licensed under Medway Council. As you might expect, there is a high concentration in Chatham and Gillingham. Those two areas account for 65% of the licensed properties in Medway. As a percentage that isn’t particularly surprising. But the number is. According to Medway Council, Gillingham South has 40 HMOs, Gillingham North has 20 and Chatham has 22. As a local property expert specialising in HMOs, I feel confident in saying that I am absolutely positive that there is no way that this is all of the licensable HMOs in Chatham and Gillingham! And while I’m well aware of rogue landlords, I do find it incredibly frustrating that there are still so many simply disregarding the rules with no recourse. And that even those that are licensed, are not policed.
The solution would come down to a better equipped council with more staff and funding to deal with the rogue landlords. But, hey, associates, friends and landlords, what do you think? Please get in touch.
Really interesting article. I think it demonstrates what most decent landlords have long thought. It is just a means of raising funds for cash strapped councils. It is claimed by most if not all councils that the fee is cost neutral but in reality it just allows councils to divert existing funds to other areas. They have always had the powers to do what the hmo license allows them to do but this way they raise money to do it. What your article demonstrates is that are not interested in clamping down on antisocial behaviour or improving standards or going after rouge landlords. As ever just go after the ones that care about their tenants and do things the right way from the start.