Awareness Campaign: Southwark’s Property Licensing

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What is property Licencing? Awareness campaign for Southwark's private renters
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We invite all Southwark’s private tenants to join us on our first awareness campaign! Learn about property licencing – what it is, why it matters, and the benefits it can provide to the renters in the borough.

In 2022, we met with many private tenants and talked about their renting experience in Southwark. What struck from our conversations with renters was that many were living in a poorly maintained accommodation with multitude of repair issues. More so, their landlords seemingly cared little or not at all about the condition of their rented property.

In our Know Your Housing Rights workshops, many tenants expressed that they have heard of Southwark’s property licensing scheme. However, the majority of tenants had little knowledge about what the scheme meant or how it could possibly benefit them. The associated terminology and jargon was evidently hard to understand – what is a an “HMO”? What constitutes a “household”? Since licencing is the landlord’s responsibility, should tenants care at all?

Since the Government introduced a non-mandatory licencing in 2015, over fifty-five boroughs across UK now operate property licencing schemes. This number is steadily growing. Landlords who let out the property to tenants in these boroughs need to abide by rules and regulations. These include matters such as health and safety, energy efficiency and duty of repair. Failing to meet property standards or renting out property without licence can mean grave consequences for the landlord. On a more positive note, property licencing  means benefits to the renters. Adventages often include better accommodation standards and, in some instances, repayment of rent.

In Southwark, the licencing scheme continues to be steadily rolled out in various wards and will continue to be expanded in the next upcoming years. Since licencing has proven to better the quality of properties and more landlord accountability towards their tenants, we believe that understanding licencing and how it can benefit renters is crucial.

Therefore, we are launching an awareness campaign for Southwark’s private renters to understand licencing and how it works.  

For the next two months we will:

  • Explain what licencing is – types of licences, landlord requirements and how needs licencing in the first place
  • Cut through the jargon and terminology
  • Show the benefits of understanding the licencing scheme
  • Tell you where to seek help and support if you living in an unlicenced property
  • Provide you with step-by-step guides how to check licencing register and how to report unlicenced properties
  • Simplify information on reporting procedures
  • Hold workshop(s) with a Q&A about licencing and what to do in cases if your landlord has failed to apply for a licence
  • Interview council officers from the licencing team and provide a more in-depth understanding of what the council can do to help your housing situation or improve the premises in which you live in
  • Explain in details what Rent Repayment Orders (RRO) are and who can help you if you wanted to make a claim
  • Listen to your concerns and feedback

We hope you join us on this journey!

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