A scheme requiring all privately rented homes in parts of Harrow to be licensed will be renewed.

Harrow Council’s cabinet agreed to extend its selective licensing scheme in Wealdstone ward, which means all properties put up for rent will have to meet certain standards.

The initiative, which first came into effect in the ward in 2016, seeks to improve the quality of privately rented houses and address associated issues such as fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour.

The current term expired yesterday (Monday, May 31) and will restart on September 2 – the period in between will act as “breathing space” given any additional pressures brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cllr Peymana Assad (Lab, Roxeth), who is responsible for community cohesion, crime, and enforcement at Harrow Council, said the measures had “made a huge difference” to the area since they were launched, bringing down cases of “overcrowding, anti-social behaviour, damp, and abandoned vehicles”.

She added a three-month “communications plan” will run for the next three months “to make sure all landlords understand the rules and apply for licensing on time”.

Earlier this year, the council agreed to extend the same scheme in Edgware ward and explained those who do not comply could be fined up to £30,000, banned from letting out their property, or be asked to return up to 12 months’ worth of rent to tenants.

Licences for a single dwelling costs £580 and runs for up to five years, with properties subject to legal checks such as fire safety precautions.

Those already licensed as a house in multiple occupation – around one in three of all privately rented properties in Wealdstone – do not need to apply for another licence, nor pay for another licence, since each premises is only subject to one type of residential licensing scheme.

As well as in Edgware and Wealdstone, there are currently selective licensing measures in place in Roxbourne and Roxeth wards.