Campaigns Local Government

Rotherham selective licensing extension ‘unnecessary financial burden for landlords’

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

The extension of a selective licensing scheme in Rotherham would be an ‘unnecessary financial burden’ for landlords, the RLA has warned in a consultation response to the proposals.

The Council ran a consultation on proposals to extend selective licensing of private rented housing in the areas of Parkgate and Thurcroft, which ran for twelve weeks and closed on 23rd December last year.

The Council is proposing that landlords in this area would have to pay £592 for a licence in order to rent out their property lawfully.

In the RLA’s response to the proposals, which you can read here, we have outlined a number of our objections to this selective licensing scheme being extended. This includes:

  • The scheme would put pressure on non-selective licensing areas.
  • The fees are too high, and would mean that landlords would have to pay for an expensive licence while criminal landlords continue to operate below the radar
  • The Council already has existing enforcement powers, such as civil penalties and rent repayment orders, and they should make use of these before extending this licensing scheme
  • Reviews of HHSRS and selective licensing. Last year the Government launched two separate reviews into the effectiveness of selective licensing and another review into HHSRS. The RLA believes that the Council should await the outcome of these reviews before extending this licensing scheme.

What is selective licensing?

In areas where selective licensing is in place, landlords must apply for a licence in order to rent out a property. For a local authority to declare a selective licensing area the area must be:

  • An area of low housing demand and/or
  • An area affected by anti-social behaviour where the private landlords have failed to take steps to control anti-social behaviour by their tenants.

Last year, Bournemouth Council rejected plans to introduce Selective Licensing in some areas of the town, after taking on board the concerns that were raised in a consultation on the proposals, including those of the RLA.

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.

4 Comments

  • Selective licencing was introduced in the Page Hall Area in Sheffield where, in addition to housing units in other areas, my husband and I own two investment properties. We are good landlords. Our properties have never been overcrowded and we have always offered clean, safe housing. Following the implementation of selective licencing the Council hounded us to such an extent my husband tried to kill himself. We had to force lovely tenants to leave because they had a baby which made my husband feel dreadful. We had to jump through so many, many loops the pressure simply broke a good man. We were a great team but my husband has not been able to return to being a landlord since which has had a direct negative impact on my own health and my own ability to provide the kind of service I would like. My husband is still under the care of the psychiatric team and still has panic attacks every time a letter comes through the door he can identity as coming from the council. These properties at Page Hall are now a burden but we can’t sell them because house prices have plummeted in the area. Social problems are markedly worse in the area and are continuing to deteriorate. I believe this to be a direct result of the onurus conditions the Council imposed which have rendered the investments untenable. We support the costs of our S4 properties with the income from other properties but many landlords must be unable to do this and many first time or accidental landlords seem to have given up even trying. The licences were £1000 per property. In addition we were required to do unnecessary work on properties including the complete re-modelling of a newly refurbished property in order to create a lobby on the inside of a 2up/2down terrace. We had to rip out a new kitchen, re run the electrics, plumbing, re-plaster already new walls and re-buy and pay to re-fit more new floor coverings. I’m sure other landlords were given equally pointless notices. To my mind the council took the opportunity to put the select licencing into place to make money off decent landlords rather than taking the time to persue the problem landlord’s in the area by using existing laws. I don’t believe the problem landlord’s will have applied for licences or do any of the requisite work. My understanding is the council eventually paid to have some of the worst landlord’s poorer properties upgraded without being able to recover the outlay.

  • Selective licencing was introduced in the Page Hall Area in Sheffield where, in addition to housing units in other areas, my husband and I own two investment properties. We are good landlords. Our properties have never been overcrowded and we have always offered clean, safe housing.  Following the implementation of selective licencing in Sheffield the Council hounded us to such an extent my husband tried to kill himself.  We  had to evict lovely tenants because they had a baby which made my husband feel dreadful. We had to jump through so many, many loops the pressure simply broke a good man. We were a great team but my husband has not been able to return to Landlording since which has directly impacted negatively on my own health.  The properties are now a burden but we can’t sell them because house prices plummeted in the area.  Social problems have continued to deteriorate and I believe this to be a direct result of the onurus conditions the Council imposed rendering the investments untenable. The licences were £1000 per property.  In addition we were required to re model the downstairs of a 2 up/2 down in order to fit a lobby where none had previously existed.  To my mind the council took the opportunity to make money off Landlords rather than taking the time to persue the problem landlord’s in the area by using the existing laws.  It is my understanding that the problem landlord’s did not apply for licences neither did they do any of the requisite work.  The council eventually paid to have some of the worst landlord’s poorer properties upgraded but didn’t persue repayment.  

    • Hello Shirley, I really felt for your husband when I read your post & I understand why it affected him so much, I too have been affected thro’ stress related illness.
      I have tried to get rid of my property’s but what they would bring is far less than I paid to have them built.
      Rotherham Selective licenses are due for renewal May 2020, I asked them if they are renewing the answer I got was contact us Spring this year.
      There is still a lot of landlords not registered
      I sincerely hope you & your husband get back to the good health you deserve, it is hard enough being a landlord these days without the powers that be in their ivory towers put so must pressure on law abiding landlords as they are doing.
      I do think the councils need to get their own houses in order first before taking money from private landlords, but I forgot they are a law unto themselves.
      Good luck & best wishes
      Maureen

  • When Rotherham council introduced Selective licence & came to my properties to inspect to make sure they were safe to live in and all paper work was in place.
    I was highly disgusted with their bad reports on my property, my properties then we’re only
    14 year old, the way the inspector was talking to me it appeared that he was finding fault.
    Wobble on door handle, no extractor fans in kitchen,bathroom & cloakroom/wc,front doorstep too high I need hand rails, these are within guidelines 6/7 inch as they had been passed by the building regulations, I told them I was going to seek advice from the building reg office, low & behold someone from Selective licence office had got there before me as the person said your properties are very popular as I have had the same enquiry from selective licence I’m telling you what I told them the steps passed building reg’s also leading to the back doors ramps were incorporated for wheelchairs & prams.
    Then we go to damp one of the bedrooms had black mould & staining also the plastering was bowing, when I went to the house to investigate the ceiling was not bowing it was a tied mark where the tenant tried to wash the ceiling, after talking to the tenant found they had been drying clothes without using ventilation, this was not my fault but the tenants but I bought all the cleaning materials/ mould cleaner & emulsion for them to do the labour, make sure next time use ventilation, the selective licence office were still on my case by this time I was very angry to come to the conclusion they were finding fault in my properties to warrant having selective licence, I told them they should send the inspector to speck savers!!
    I thought how dare they do this to me when there was properties in bad conditions & not registered for selective licence were the council doing anything no they were not.
    The price of my properties have gone down they are worth less now than what it cost us to build them. Shame on Rotherham borough council, when people are investing in housing what people are needing & we get treated this way. They keep going on about private landlords charging too much rent is there any wonder when charges of almost £600 per property is imposed on the private landlords.
    All these rules they have given in the selective licence they had before there was no need to introduce it.
    I think Rotherham council need to get there own house in order before they start on private landlords.

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