Though Mayor Andy Burnham’s election plans to introduce a city-wide Manchester licensing scheme appear to have been abandoned by the politician, they have made a lasting impression on the council.
In the same month that their second selective licensing scheme in two years came into force, Manchester City Council have predictably announced that the proposed scheme in Moss Side and Rusholme has been approved to begin in April 2018.
The first scheme in Crumpsall was approved in 2016, followed by the consultation and approval of a licensing scheme in Moss Side and Rusholme in late 2017, which came into force this month. The consultation for Moston and Old Moat was started in May 2017.
Selective Licensing applies to all private rented sector houses that are not licensed under HMO licensing, this includes non licensable HMOs. An area may be designated for selective licensing either (i) if the area is (or is likely to be) an area of low housing demand or (ii) the area is experiencing a significant and persistent problem caused by anti social behaviour that local authorities attribute to private sector landlords failing to take action to combat against unruly tenants. A designation can last up to five years.
As part of the licence, the holders of the licence will be required to comply with licensing conditions, some of which are mandatorily imposed by the Housing Act, and local licensing conditions from the council itself.
The official designation of tall Manchester’s schemes can be read here. If you are unsure whether this scheme will affect you, please contact Manchester City Council directly, failure to obtain a licence when one is required is an offence which is liable for conviction and an unlimited fine.
The licence fee is £650 for the first property and £550 for any others.
For Moston and Old Moat, licences will be discounted to £400 for landlords who apply by Monday 23 April 2018. Each licence will last for the full duration of the designation, which is five years.
The RLA made an official response, opposing all landlord licensing, to all three proposed Manchester schemes. The council made replying effectively to this consultation difficult by not supplying the appropriate amount of information on the proposed scheme, especially in regards to evidence of need or the proposed standards.
They supplied no details on the proposed standards, fees, or decision making behind this particular scheme, that would differ to their past consultations, they did not effectively make the case that any area proposed, specifically, needed this licensing.
It unfortunately appears that the City Council is going through the motions giving generic blanket evidence, rather than making cases for each individual area, doing nothing to correct national selective licensing standards, which they themselves labeled ‘ineffective’.
Without particular care and attention paid to licensing schemes, and particular enforcement against criminal landlords, these areas will not improve for the sake of both landlords and tenants meaning they will become nothing more than a money making exercise for the council.
Our full responses can be read here.