New licensing scheme proposed to improve private rented property

A consultation on a new licensing scheme which aims to provide better homes for tenants in the private rented sector has been launched. It will look at extending the current house in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing scheme across Reading, as well as introducing a targeted scheme to three specific wards which will cover all rental properties in the private rented sector.

Implementing an additional HMO licensing scheme borough-wide, alongside the phased introduction of a selective licensing system, aims to drive up conditions for tenants and improve the housing stock.

The council currently operates the national mandatory licensing scheme for larger houses in multiple occupations (HMOs) with five or more occupants. In Reading there are currently more than 1,400 HMOs licensed under the current mandatory scheme.

Discretionary licensing under the Housing Act 2004 is a tool which the council can use to improve conditions and management in the private rented sector. The scheme the council is consulting on proposes extending HMO licensing to HMOs with three or four occupants.

The scheme will also require all rented properties to have a licence, including those let to a single person or family, in three wards – Battle, Redlands and Park. These wards have been selected due to the high number of rental properties in these areas which are predicted to have serious health or safety issues.

The consultation launched on 6 June 2024 and will run for 12 weeks. You can get involved by visiting

A drop-in session are being held as well at South Reading Community Hub – 16 July – 12.30pm – 4pm.

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