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New charges for HMOs in Coventry

A city-wide ‘additional licensing’ scheme was approved at Coventry Council on 14 January, but ward-specific ‘selective licensing’ came to a halt after it was voted down to allow for further investigations.

The new additional licensing policy will focus on houses in multiple occupations (HMOs). The scheme is likely to impact a number of student homes, which the council hopes to reduce through the introduction of more purpose-built student blocks.

Under additional licensing, a landlord who has been operating an unlicensed HMO could pay £1,250 for a one-year licence; £1,055 could be charged for a one-year licence if they are not listed as part of the council’s ‘proactive enforcement regime’; £705 for a two-year licence; £640 for a five-year licence; and £545 for a renewal.

Selective licensing would have existed in certain wards, but councillors voted it down after citing an upcoming selective licensing review from the government and ‘out-of-date’ data from a 2011 census, which was used to determine the areas the new scheme would fall into.

In consultation, landlords also claimed it added ‘unnecessary financial burden’ and could lead to increased costs being passed onto tenants. Both schemes were planned to hold landlords to account and help set and maintain minimum standards across the city. However, combined the schemes would have introduced fees potentially worth thousands of pounds on landlords.

Additional licensing will come into force in Coventry on 4 May for a period of five years.

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