Thurrock Council's additional licensing scheme starts on 1 June and will require private landlords and managing agents renting shared houses or flats to 3 or 4 unrelated people – houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) – to be licensed in certain parts of Thurrock.
Under the new regulations, landlords will have to comply with national health and safety standards and local criteria before a 5-year licence is granted. Those who are not licensed could be prosecuted and receive an unlimited fine or be served with a civil penalty notice of up to £30,000.
The new scheme will complement existing UK-wide mandatory licensing, which applies to homes rented to 5 unrelated people or more. Thurrock Council this month became the first local authority in the Essex area to serve a civil penalty notice to landlords for failure to licence under the mandatory scheme, with three landlords fined a total of £16,000.
It is estimated there are currently about 700 homes in multiple occupation in Thurrock.
Cllr Barry Johnson, portfolio holder for housing, said: "We support responsible landlords in supplying good quality and safe homes to residents, but sadly there are those who fail to provide acceptable living conditions and don’t have adequate protection in place for their tenants or neighbouring homes.
"We believe everyone should have a good quality place to live and tightening the regulations around more shared houses and flats will assist us in ensuring privately rented homes are safe and well managed."
To find out more and apply for a licence, go to thurrock.gov.uk/hmo