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January 2020 licensing update for landlords

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

In our licensing update this month, we take a look at some of the local licensing schemes set to come into force very soon, and we look ahead to ongoing licensing consultations and how landlords can make their views heard.

Licensing News

HMO landlords: Article 4 Direction to be introduced in Birmingham this summer

Earlier this year, we reported on an Article 4 consultation that was being run by Birmingham City Council. The council collected the views of landlords on plans to make it compulsory for landlords in Birmingham to obtain prior planning permission to convert a property in to a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Birmingham City Council have now confirmed that following the consultation, the borough wide Article 4 Direction in Birmingham has been given the go ahead. It is set to come into force on June 8 and will apply to developers looking to turn a property into a HMO for up to six people.

Leeds landlords: Harehills and Beeston selective licensing scheme to come into force

Landlords who rent out a property in certain parts of Beeston or Harehills, are required to have a selective licence from 6th January, in order to rent out their property lawfully.

There are two designated selective licensing areas, and the new scheme will run from 6 January 2020 to 5 January 2025.

Landlords can read more about the scheme and apply for a licence by clicking here.

Oldham Council announce consultation on selective licensing on its way

While this consultation has not yet been launched, Oldham Council says it will launch a consultation on whether selective licensing is needed in 10 wards of the town. This consultation is set to launch mid-January.

Oxford Council to consult on borough wide licensing in summer

Oxford council have announced plans to consult on borough-wide licensing in summer 2020. The RLA will keep members up to date when this consultation is launched.

Current licensing consultations

Oadby and Wigston -selective licensing (Closes 30th January 2020)

Oadby and Wigston Borough Council is currently consulting on plans to introduce a selective licensing scheme in South Wigston. This consultation was originally due to close on 14th November, but the deadline has been extended until January. Landlords can read more about the plans and have their say here.

The City and County of Cardiff – Renewal of additional licensing for HMO’s in the Plasnewydd Ward – (Closes 31st January 2020)

The RLA are seeking clarity on the consultation timeframe, which we believe does not give landlords enough time to respond with the small timeframe including over holidays. However, we would encourage landlords to respond as quickly as possible.

Cardiff Council are proposing to reintroduce the additional licensing scheme in the Plasnewydd area of the city.

When a scheme has been granted, additional licensing can run for a five-year period, with the current scheme ending late 2019.  The council are now looking to reintroduce the scheme for an additional five years. 

You can access the consultation here and read the RLA’s response to this consultation here.

The City and County of Swansea – Renewal of the Additional HMO Licensing scheme for the Castle and Uplands wards and introduction of HMO licensing in the St Thomas Ward – (Closes 5th February 2020)

Swansea Council are consulting on their proposal to renew the additional licensing scheme for all HMO’s operating in the Castle and Uplands wards, including those that are below the mandatory threshold of being three storeys high or having at least five occupants.

The council are looking to use discretionary powers to continue an Additional HMO Licensing Scheme which would include the smaller, lower risk HMOs that fall outside mandatory licensing.

Further to this, Swansea are looking to further extend these discretionary powers to include a new scheme to introduce the same policy in the St. Thomas ward of the city.

Licenses will be granted over the recommendation that the HMO is reasonably suitable for occupation, that the license applicant is a fit and proper person and that suitable management arrangements are in place.  A administration fee will be in place to cover the authorities costs to administer the scheme.

To respond to the consultation, please view the consultation here and send comments to

Hastings Council – selective licensing consultation (Closes 6th March)

The current selective licensing scheme in Hastings was introduced on 15th October 2015, and the five year scheme is due to expire in 2020.

The scheme that is being proposed and consulted on would require landlords to licence all privately rented flats and houses that are occupied by one household (i.e. single persons or couples, or one family) in the 6 wards of Braybrooke, Castle, Central St Leonards, Gensing, Old Hastings and Tressell.  Have your say on the plans here.

Camden Council – Additional HMO licensing scheme renewal (Closes 8th March 2020)

In 2015 Camden Council introduced a borough wise additional licensing scheme for Houses of Multiple Occupation. The five year scheme is now up for renewal, and landlords are being invited to share their views on the proposals and attend some drop in sessions the Council is running. To have your say on the plans, click here.

Read the RLA’s response to this consultation here.

Croydon Council – Selective licensing consultation – (Closes 9th March 2020)

A borough-wide selective licensing scheme was introduced in Croydon in 2015, meaning that it is due to expire in 2020.

The council is now consulting on plans to introduce a new licensing scheme to cover all or most of the borough, to take effect from Autumn 2020. Landlords can read more about the plans and have their say here.

Bournemouth Council (closes 6th April)

Bournemouth Council is considering licensing proposals to include Selective and Additional Licensing in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.  Read more here

Learn more about licensing

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.


  • Can you please let us know what you are doing regarding the consultation on Croydon’s 5 year extension of borough-wide licensing?

    • We are currently responding to the council’s consultation. We are making the point that licensing is unnecessary red tape for landlords and the council already has the enforcement powers needed to tackle criminal landlords without resorting to a costly licensing scheme that focus more on processing applications than proactive enforcement. The response will be published in full next week.

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