Lewisham Council plan to crack down on unsafe properties and “rogue landlords who rip off tenants” through a borough-wide licensing scheme.
The scheme will target all private rentals in “high risk” areas, where private rentals are linked to antisocial behaviour and crime, and is expected to go to mayor and cabinet for approval in the autumn.
A council spokeswoman said: “We will apply for a borough-wide licensing scheme which will protect Lewisham renters from rogue landlords who let unsafe properties, attempt to rip off their tenants or use their properties to commit fraud and other crimes.”
This comes after the council implemented stricter regulations than national guidelines for multiple-occupancy rentals above shops last year.
National licensing guidelines, which are set to change in October, see landlords apply for a license to rent buildings at least three storeys high and with five or more tenants who are not from one household, and who share kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities.
But Lewisham Council extended the regulations, making landlords seek licensing to let multiple-occupant rentals above shops.
In October the Government will also include all multiple-occupancy rentals with five or more unrelated tenants in the licensing scheme, and not just those above three storeys high.
Lewisham Council estimated the new regulations would mean an extra 400 properties would need licensing, and have already identified about 90.
The new rules will also set minimum size requirements for bedrooms, with local councils able to make sure that only rooms meeting the standards can be used for sleeping.
The National Approved Letting Scheme has warned that increasing costs and a complicated licensing scheme could force landlords from the private rented sector.
Their research showed licensing fees for a three-storey multiple occupancy building with five unrelated occupants can range from £125 (City of London Corporation) to £2,500 (Lewisham Council).