Local Government North West

Salford City Council Announce Licensing Consultation

salford
India Cocking
Written by India Cocking

This week, Salford City Council have announced the start of a Selective Licensing consultation in parts of the Charlestown and Lower Kersal areas.

The Housing Act 2004  gives councils the power to introduce selective licensing schemes for privately rented properties in either the whole or part of their areas and in May 2007, Salford City Council became the first Council in England to introduce a selective licensing scheme. This scheme covered an area of Langworthy and Seedley, and schemes later followed in part of the Broughton area, Charlestown and Lower Kersal and parts of Barton and Eccles.

The Council is required by law to consult with people, businesses and organisations that are likely to be affected by the proposals and also to consider any views fully before making a decision on this new scheme. This consultation period will last for a period of 10 weeks. It starts on 3rd April 2017 and will close on 12th June 2017.

Selective licensing affects all private rented property that is not licensed under houses multiple occupancy licencing. Selective licensing requires landlords who privately rent properties in the proposed area to obtain a licence from the Council. If granted, a licence will be issued with a number of conditions which the landlord must comply with, these conditions are set by the government with local authorities having the option to include their own licensing conditions. It is a criminal offence to operate a privately rented property without a licence. A landlord will also commit a criminal offence if they fail to comply with any of the conditions of a licence.

Salford have proposed 62 licence conditions, saying “the proposed conditions have been drawn up from experience of others schemes and in consultation with internal and external partners to deal with issues which are of real concern in the community. We actively invite your comments as to whether these proposed
conditions best reflect the issues in the proposed area.” The conditions can be read in Annex 2 of this report here.

The council has the power to charge landlords a fee for the processing and management of the selective licensing scheme, Salford’s proposed fee structure can be seen below;

3 months prior to scheme commencing:
£425 (1st application)
£405 (subsequent applications)

Non Accredited landlords
£475 (1st application)
£455 (subsequent applications)

3 months from scheme start date:
£475 (1st application)
£455 (subsequent applications)

Non Accredited landlords
£525 (1st application)
£505 (subsequent applications)

Applications received between month 3 and 6 following scheme start date:
£525 (1st application)
£505 (subsequent applications)

Non Accredited landlords
£575 (1st application)
£555 (subsequent applications)

Salford Council have confirmed that only members of their accreditation scheme are eligible for the accredited landlords discount price.

In defence of the consultation, Salford City Council say- “With an ever growing private rented sector, it’s important to ensure that this sector provides flexible, affordable and well managed homes. Through Selective Licensing, landlords have been provided with a bench mark for suitable management standards and where they do not meet this mark, they are challenged to improve. It is apparent from reviews of the previous selective licensing schemes in Salford that there have been positive improvements in terms of property value, rent levels and turnover, i.e. people staying in a property for longer. Criminal and negligent landlords are being tackled as their bad practices undermine the good work of professional landlords.”

We at the RLA believe there are alternatives to licensing. The RLA supports a system of self-regulation for landlords whereby compliant landlords join a co-regulation scheme which deals with standards and complaints in the first instance, while those outside the scheme remain under the scope of local authority enforcement. We believe that the criminal landlords these scheme often claim to target make no effort to comply with this legislation, like they do with so many other regulations, leaving good landlords struggling to meet ever demanding standards.

The RLA will be responding to this consultation and we urge our members to do the same, in order to have their views and opinions heard by the council. To do this answer Salford City’s questionnaire or write to them via:

Email: landlord.licensing@salford.gov.uk
Web: www.salford.gov.uk/selectivelicensingconsultation

Landlord Licensing Team
Unity House,
Swinton,
Salford,
M27 5BY

For more information on this consultation, to read the full consultation documents, and to see the designation maps visit the Council’s website here.

To keep up to date with news, events, licensing, and contact details for Salford City Council visit their Local Authority Network page.

About the author

India Cocking

India Cocking

India is the Local Government Officer for the RLA. Having completed her degree in International Politics at Aberystwyth University, India is currently working on updating and maintaining the Local Authority Network. This is of importance as it strengthens communication and understanding between landlords, local authorities, and the RLA. India is working towards gathering concise and clear data from all 435 local authorities on their licencing, fees, news, events and contact details.

Before joining the RLA India worked at Martin and Co Lettings Agent in her home town of Derby, the Welsh Assembly, and her local MP, alongside helping her parents run the family buy-to-let business.

1 Comment

  • India,

    I have a serious interest in this licensing consultation and have therefore gone onto the questionnaire in order to complete one so that my opinions are known. However, page 2 of the questionannaire specifically asks about your local knowledge of the proposed area. As I have very little knowledge my answers would be purely guesswork. However, I suspect the questions being asked are loaded in as much as they are asking questions for which factual evidence would lead them to argue licensing is necessary in the area based on the requirements for selective licensing. My argument against licensing is that it penalises those professional landlords who create, let and manage quality properties. I pride myself in being one of these landlords. At a cost of just over £400 per property, for a responsible landlord with a large portfolio of properties, say 30 within that area, that would amount to a total licensing bill for those properties alone of £12,000! How is that a fair way to behave to one group of people just because their chosen profession is providing quality accomodation that people want and need? The criminal and negligent landlords will most likely not be affected, unless for some reason they are detected which is unlikely as they will already be cautious to remain unseen as they will be aware it is already illegal. Also, who is expected to prosecute? If it is a criminal offence, then surely that falls to the police and CPS. Yet both these resources are so seriously depleted now that even some positive line criminal behaviour is not being prosecuted, so is it realistically likely that they will be prosecuting persons for sub standard accomodation?

    My greater concern over licensing across Manchester, is that if, as expected, Andy Burnham becomes mayor of Manchester, he told me in a meeting I had with him in September last year that he would extend licensing to cover the entire city. As the meeting was based on S.24 and not about licensing I was unable to go into any lengths with him about this, other than to question the cost per license which I had seen, was to be in the region of £700!! He stated he did not know this, as this was dealt with by others, so wasn’t in a position to comment further. However, I did point out that at this figure, this again just seemed a punitive tax that would only cripple responsible landlords and not raise any standards. It is this that I am most concerned about, as this coupled with the extremes of S.24 Finance Act, will no doubt add further misery to an already battle weary profession.

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