Why we license properties
Property licensing helps us to regulate the condition and management of private rented properties in the borough. We license properties to:
- improve property standards and management
- help address anti-social behaviour (ASB) issues
- protect our residents from rogue landlords.
It is a criminal offence for landlords and managing agents to let out a property that is not properly licensed. Where such offences take place, we may take enforcement action either by way of instigating criminal prosecution proceedings or considering imposing a fine of up to £30,000 for each offence against each person responsible for letting an unlicensed privately rented property.
An application for a Rent Repayment Order (RRO) may also be made which, if granted, will require the landlord to pay back up to 12 months rental income from the property. Further information may be found in our Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Fixed Penalty Charging Policy.
Properties that we license
Islington Council operates three property licensing schemes. If your property meets one of the descriptions listed below, you need to apply for a property licence.
- All houses or flats where there are five or more unrelated people, forming two or more households, and who share amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities.
- All buildings occupied by five or more unrelated people, forming two or more households, and consisting of bedsits or flats that are not fully self-contained (eg. occupiers need to leave their bedsit / flat to use a bathroom or kitchen).
- All houses or flats where there are three or four unrelated people, forming two or more households, and sharing facilities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.
- All buildings occupied by three or four unrelated people, forming two or more households, and consisting of bedsits or flats which are not fully self-contained (eg. occupiers need to leave their bedsit/flat to use a bathroom)
- Any building that has been converted into self-contained flats and where the standard of conversion does not meet the Building Regulations 1991 and where all of the flats are tenanted and under one single ownership (commonly known as S257 HMOs).
- All flats let to three or more unrelated people, forming two or more households, located within a purpose-built block of flats and not covered by the mandatory licensing scheme.
- All privately-rented accommodation occupied by either one or two people, whatever their relationship, or occupied by a single family/household and located within:
- the Finsbury Park ward except for the area that was moved out of the old Highbury West ward as part of the 2022 ward boundary changes
- the area of Tollington ward that was moved out of the Finsbury Park ward with the 2022 ward boundary changes (read more about these changes and see a map of the ward boundary changes)
By holding a property licence, you will need to comply with the HMO licensing conditions or selective licensing conditions which will ensure the property you let out is properly managed and provides a safe environment. For mandatory or additional licensing your property must also meet prescribed standards.
Current additional licensing and selective licensing schemes
A borough-wide additional licensing scheme and a selective licensing scheme for Finsbury Park ward have been in operation since 1 February 2020.
The executive report recommending the adoption of the schemes was approved by Islington council’s joint board and supporting information to the report including the consultation document, questionnaire and results, representations received and responses may be found in the links.
Consultation on Property Licensing Schemes
Following a statutory consultation and residents’ engagement on updating Property Licensing Schemes which ran for 13 weeks, ending on 27 March 2022.
Islington Council's Executive decided on Thursday 20 July 2023 to expand our current scheme and designate the wards of Finsbury Park, Tollington and Hillrise as areas subject to selective licensing. See Map.
The new scheme will come into force on 20 May 2024 with applications being accepted from 1 April 2024. Please see the consultation Response document and designation notice in the useful documents section at the bottom of this web page.
Islington has two other existing boroughwide landlord licensing schemes to protect private renters who live in shared accommodation.
For more information about the selective licensing scheme for Finsbury Park, Tollington and Hillrise wards see the full report to Islington Council's Executive.
Please note this page relates to Property Licensing only. See information about other types of licenses.