Selective Licensing is a discretionary licensing scheme we can use to address problems in an area experiencing:
- low housing demand
- significant anti-social behaviour
- poor property conditions
- an influx of migration
- a high level of deprivation
- high levels of crime
Selective Licensing requires all landlords operating within a designated area to license any privately rented property within that area.
The designation lasts for 5 years and includes conditions aimed at ensuring licensed properties are safe and well managed.
Consultation for new schemes
Before we can introduce a Selective Licensing scheme we have to show why we think this kind of scheme is needed in an area, what kind of problems it is trying to tackle and why we don’t think other ways of tackling these problems would work. We must also consult with all affected people, such as tenants, residents, landlords, managing agents, businesses, Police, Fire Service, local councillors etc. It is very important that we gather as many views as possible and that we give proper consideration to these views.
Benefits of Selective Licensing
The introduction of Selective Licensing can bring widespread benefits to the local community. In particular it will ensure that all private rented property within the designated area is safe and well managed. Other benefits could include:
- higher standards of management
- safer housing conditions
- improved rental and property values
- improved image and perception of the area
Responsibility of landlords in a Selective Licensing area
Landlords will need to:
- apply and pay for a licence for each house or flat that they let out in that area (including for properties they are already letting out when the scheme begins)
- show that they (or their agent) are 'Fit and Proper', eg they don't have criminal convictions which may affect their management of the property, and that they have satisfactory management arrangements in place to deal with repair and maintenance issues, and with tenancy problems such as rent arrears and anti-social behaviour
Licences can have a variety of other conditions attached to them, designed to make sure that the properties are in a good, safe condition, as well as conditions requiring landlords or agents to get references from tenants before allowing them to move in.
The following kinds of property or tenancies will be exempt from needing a licence:
- licensed HMOs
- a temporary exemption notice is in force (s.62 or s.86 Housing Act 2004)
- a management order is in force (s.102 or s.113 Housing Act 2004)
- the tenancies and licences are subject to a prohibition order whose operation has not been suspended (s.20/s.21 Housing Act 2004)
- the tenancy is a business tenancy
- certain premises licensed for alcohol consumption (only on-licences not off licences)
- certain agricultural tenancies
- tenancies and licences granted by Registered Social Landlords and Housing Providers
- buildings controlled or managed by the Local Housing Authority
- buildings controlled or managed by the Police
- buildings controlled or managed by the Fire Service
- buildings controlled or managed by the Health Service Body
- tenancies and licences regulated by other enactments (a full list of these can be found within 'The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) England Regulations 2006 lists'
- certain University/College accommodation occupied by students
- where the owner or his relatives occupy a property on a long leasehold
- where the landlord lets to certain relatives
- holiday homes where the landlord/licensor or his relative lives at the property and shares facilities
The level of fee for a licence is determined as part of the consultation for a new designation. We usually want to make sure that responsible landlords who apply for a licence straight away pay a lower fee than those that don't. Income raised from charging licence fees can only be used to operate the scheme.