Council reviews licensing scheme for shared rental properties

The AHMOL scheme that regulates smaller rental properties in multiple occupancy, comes to an end next year and the council is seeking public views about its renewal.

Kingston Council introduced Additional Houses in Multiple Occupation Licensing (AHMOL) in 2012 to improve housing standards across shared rental properties not covered under the mandatory licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Smaller in size than the borough’s 170 mandatory licensed HMO properties, AHMOL properties are defined as rented, two-storey dwellings with five or more people living there, from two or more families, sharing facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens.

There are 165 registered AHMOL properties in the borough, home to an estimated 1,000 people. The average licence fee, which is linked to property size and paid by the landlord, is around £800 for the duration of the five-year scheme.

Speaking about the review, Cllr Cathy Roberts, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing at Kingston Council, said:  

“This discretionary licensing scheme can be used by local authorities that have a high number of smaller shared rental properties in their area. Kingston has a large student population. AHMOL helps to protect them, and other people living in shared accommodation, from unscrupulous landlords.

“To obtain a licence, landlords need to comply with stipulated safety standards, which safeguards against poor housing conditions, and stops overcrowding.

“The council has to review discretionary services before deciding if they should be continued or not. We believe the scheme is helping to drive up standards for renters but we want to hear from residents about their experiences of the scheme, whether directly or indirectly involved with it.”  

Cllr Roberts continued:

“We often become aware of properties which fit the AHMOL criteria through reports from the public relating to noise, disruption or suspected overcrowding, which we then investigate.  

"The AHMOL scheme provides a useful framework for responsible landlords, who want to do right by their tenants. And landlords who commit to improving living standards, do better in the long run.” 

The AHMOL public consultation starts tomorrow (Friday 7 October), and runs for 10 weeks, closing on Friday 16 December 2016.   

If you are concerned about a property in your neighbourhood contact the Kingston Council Residential Team on 020 8547 5000.