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Nottingham licensing scheme a farce

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

A landlord licensing scheme in Nottingham has so far managed to issue full licences to fewer than three per cent of the applications received.

In August 2018, Nottingham City Council introduced a Selective Licensing Scheme across many parts of the city as a key part of its efforts to address the quality and management of private rented housing.

Figures provided to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee however show that by August 2019, whilst 17,523 applications for a licence had been received, just 472 final licences had been issued.

The council estimates a total of 24,000 applications are eventually likely to be received.

The RLA is branding the painfully slow progress in processing applications a farce and has called on the council to scrap this pointless scheme.

No inspections

The RLA points out the issuing of a licence is not linked to any form of property inspection by the council, meaning tenants cannot be sure that because their landlord is licensed the property meets all the required standards.

In addition, because there is no way of checking whether or not a licence application has been made, tenants cannot tell if their landlord has applied and is simply waiting for the council to process the application or is flouting the law altogether.

As part of the General Election campaign the RLA is calling for all forms of landlord licencing schemes to be scrapped.

Instead, it is calling for councils to use the wide array of data they can already access such as from council tax returns, benefit and electoral roll data and information from the Land Registry to identify landlords.

Wasting resources

It is further calling on councils such as Nottingham to spend more time and resources finding and rooting out criminal landlords rather than wasting resources tying good landlords up in bureaucratic knots.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, said:“Nottingham Council cannot have it both ways. Either it believes landlord licences are important, in which case they should process applications promptly, or they do not, in which case they should scrap what amounts to a money making scheme.

“The reality is that the council is targeting responsible landlords whilst doing nothing to find and root out bad landlords who will have no intention of applying for a licence. This is purely a money making bureaucratic exercise which will not benefit tenants in any way. ”

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.


  • This is clearly a disgraceful situation that requires resolve. Isn’t it time landlords stood together and made a claim for what amounts to taxing the decent landlord.
    Surely common sense must prevail.

  • And apparently they’ve only done 176 inspections from approximately £9 million+ pounds in. Which equates to over £51,136.00 I repeat FIFTY ONE THOUSAND POUNDS AN INSPECTION. When Nottingham Aug 2018 said an Inspection cost should be £77.
    Someone has worked out that the rate they going, they should take 76 years to get all current houses inspected. If u a Rogue Landlord, u gonna’ take the chance & not pay your fee as by the time the Council get to u, you probably won’t be here. Or in your nursing home not giving a hoot.

  • Not only are they failing to issue licences but they have also announced a price increase from March 2020. Since the cost of licensing has been passed on directly to tenants by LLs resulting in Nottingham seeing some of the biggest rises in rent across the country in the last year, we can assume that Nottingham Tenants are going to bear the brunt of this price increase too. – with absolutely nothing to show for it as only the decent LLs are bothering to apply!

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