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Selective Licensing lowdown

Monday 12 November 2018

Selective Licensing and Additional Licensing schemes continue to be adopted by local authorities across the country, despite evidence that suggests they simply do not work. We take a look at few of the most recent ones that have either come into force or will be coming into force shortly, and tell you what we're doing to help you understand them.

Recent Selective Licensing and Additional Licensing schemes include, Hackney, which came into force on 1 October following a consultation, and Nottingham which was introduced back in August, with Newcastle upon Tyne expected to introduce new large scale Additional Licensing and Selective Licensing schemes in the near future.   

Licensing schemes operate for five-year time period, and councils are obliged to conduct a review into their schemes before the period comes to a close, and before introducing a new scheme commencing after the old on draws to an end. Fees for landlords are usually in the mid-hundreds per property, with discounts often offered for early licensing or for licensing more than one property, but this varies between local authorities. 

Here are some of the latest happenings around the country:

Hackney

Landlords will have until 2 December this year to make their application before enforcement begins from 3 December. There are two separate schemes running:

A borough-wide Additional Licensing' for all HMOs - home with two or more households and shared facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms and toilets. 

Selective Licensing of all non-HMOs in three wards - Brownswood, Cazenove and Stoke Newington. Properties must meet criteria for 'acceptable standards' and as with all selective licensing schemes landlords or agents flouting the law can expert to face a fixed penalty of up to £30,000, or an unlimited fine from the court. 

Apply for licence

Nottingham

The current Selective Licensing was introduced in August 2018 and covers all, or parts, of the following areas:

  • Basford
  • Bulwell
  • Bestwood
  • Leen Valley
  • Wollaton East
  • Radford and Park
  • Dunkirk and Lenton
  • Bridge
  • Dales
  • St Ann's
  • Mapperley
  • Sherwood
  • Wollaton West

You can check if a specific address falls under the scheme here: https://geoserver.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/myproperty/ and Nottingham City Council have also produced a guide to Selective Licensing in Nottingham.

Revised licence conditions were also approved on the 18 September 2018. These come into effect immediately and apply to any new or pending applications. These will be applied to existing licences upon licence renewal.

Nottingham Council's 2019-2023 Additional Licensing scheme for HMOs was given approval in September and will cover wards of Arboretum and Radford and Park, along with parts of Berridge, Bridge, Dales, Dunkirk and Lentin, Mapperley, Sherwood, St Ann's Wollaton East and Lentin Abbey.

Newcastle

Newcastle City Council launched a consultation on 5 November 2018 to introduce a new licensing scheme which they say will cover up to 18,500 rented properties in the city and will cover a combination of Selective Licensing (approx 9,100 properties) and Additional Licensing (approx 9350 properties). There are currently only two areas which fall under Selective Licensing - Byker Old Town and Allendale South, with a standard application fee of £550. Each stipulate that license holder must evidence that they have undertaken at least five hours training per year as a condition of the licence.

The council say that the large-scale property licensing scheme will "help provide tenants with a greater choice of safe, good quality and well managed accommodation. Improving the quality of private rented accommodation will lead to better community and cross tenure relations, reduce anti-social behaviour and help to stabilise and improve local neighbourhoods."

The consultation closes on 27 January 2019, and you can also attend one of three open sessions at Newcastle City Library, where there will be a short presentation followed by an opportunity to ask questions. 

20 November 2018, 17:00-19:00

4 December 2018, 13:00-15:00

14 January 2019, 17:00-19:00

Greenwich

In Greenwich, every HMO has needed to be licensed since 1 October 2017, but the council has recently issued letters to letting agents saying that they claim to have received intelligence to suggest that some agents are actively encouraging landlords NOT to apply for a license. Whilst many don't agree that licensing works, it is completely unacceptable that this is happening and those doing so should also consider the large penalties of up to £30,000 for landlords or managing agents who don't comply. Greenwich Council cite a recent penalty of £15,000 which was issued to a rogue landlord in the area, proving that they are taking enforcement action. 

Camden

Camden Council have been operating their borough-wide additional HMO licensing scheme since 8 December 2015 and the scheme runs for five years until December 2020.

Like most councils, Camden say that their additional HMO licensing scheme is intended to help them tackle poor management, poor housing conditions and overcrowding in HMOs by providing additional powers to regulate them. Councils are required to review the operation of any additional schemes and Camden Council will be conducting a review after their consultation with landlords, letting agents and private tenants living end on 19 November 2018.

Subject to the outcome of the review, the council say they might decide to extend the scheme for a further five years, although any such proposal would to subject to public consultation.

More information about property licensing rules in London Borough of Camden can be found here.

How we can help

We have fact sheets available for members on Selective Licensing, Additional Licensing and HMOs, which you can download from the members' area.

Member's can also keep in the loop by accessing our Industry Supplier, GetRentr's latest information on licensing, which gives information on schemes coming to an end, undergoing consultation and beginning.