British Parliament has released a briefing note on the role of Selective Licensing and steps required to introduce a scheme. Selective Licensing is used as a way of improving community make-up and property standards within the Private Rented Sector.
The note outlines what requirements must be in place to implement Selective Licensing. Many of the provisions relating to selective licensing are similar to those relating to the mandatory and discretionary licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Some of the most common reasoning for licensing schemes include:
- Areas of low demand
- Antisocial behaviour
- Impact of the rented sector on the local community, for example, poor property
- Lack of mixed communities in terms of tenure
Failure to comply with licensing conditions (which are mandatory for private landlords within the boundaries of the scheme) can result in heavy fines up to £20,000.
Vigilant landlords will be aware that licensing schemes are cropping up throughout the UK in a bid to raise standards of properties within the private rented sector (PRS). Privately rented accommodation has been identified as an increasingly important aspect of the national economy and there are various approaches to ensuring good living standards are enjoyed by all.
The RLA is against all forms of licensing as it is oftentimes a way of reprimanding good landlords who already operate inside the confines of law and order and provide good quality homes to responsible tenants. Criminal landlords are more likely to cause problems in terms of housing antisocial tenants and provide poor quality homes. Licensing has never proven to capture those who operate outside the law and it can be argued that it will be tenants shouldering the costs of increased fees for good landlords registering for licensing fees.
Recent news suggests that landlords are struggling to obtain buy-to-let mortgages from lenders when applying for properties in areas of Selective Licensing. This could further exacerbate low demand and property conditions, the very concerns Selective Licensing looks to abolish.
If you are aware of Selective Licensing schemes being introduced in your area and a consultation is running, contact the RLA and we will endeavour to provide a response to ensure that alternatives are considered. This is a requirement of all Selective Licensing procedures.