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Selective Licensing - New licensing scheme proposed

The consultation on the proposal to introduce a scheme of selective licensing for private rented houses in Nottingham has now closed.

The Council received many responses to the consultation.  These were carefully considered and the comments received were reported back to the Council’s Executive Board.

The scheme has now be submitted to the Secretary of State for confirmation of the scheme, a legislative requirement, with the aim of introducing it from April 2018.

The Council’s Executive Board on the 18 July 2017 has now approved a revised Selective Licensing scheme which includes some changes to the original proposal following an extensive 11-week consultation earlier this year which sought the views of tenants, landlords, letting agents and local people generally.

The scheme will now be submitted to the Secretary of State for approval, a legislative requirement, with the aim of introducing it from April 2018.

The Council is concerned about poor standards in the city’s private rented sector having received thousands of complaints about housing conditions over a number of years about problems ranging from dangerous electrical wiring; cockroach infestations and lack of windows to smoke alarms not working and lack of safe escape.

The report to the Council’s Executive Board on 22 November also highlighted that poorly managed and maintained properties in areas with a high proportion of private rented housing are contributing to higher levels of crime and anti-social behaviour in those neighbourhoods.

The report recommends approval in principle for a ‘Selective Licensing’ scheme which would require private landlords to obtain a licence demonstrating that they and their properties met required standards. There has been a 13% reduction in the proposed cost of the licence for those landlords who already have accreditation, from £460 down to £400. This would mean the cost of a licence for accredited landlords would reduce to £1.54 a week over the five years of the scheme. The cost of a licence for non-accredited landlords is now proposed to be £655 per property for 5 years.  Whilst the fee may change prior to any submission being made to the Secretary of State to approve the scheme it is felt unlikely at this stage that that it would be higher than that indicated, and  any changes in the fee are likely to be no more than 20% of fee proposed.

Accreditation can currently be obtained by landlords at no cost via the DASH scheme. Unipol also offers a scheme. Both schemes provide accreditation for up to three years.

Councillor Jane Urquhart, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing, said: “Alongside building new houses and taking tough enforcement action against rogue landlords, we believe introducing a new licensing scheme for landlords is one of the most important measures we can take to improve the quality of housing in the city, which is why we made it a key objective in the Council Plan published last year.”

Following the July Executive Board decision Councillor Urquhart said: “We have listened carefully to the issues raised in the consultation and made changes to the proposed scheme without losing focus on the improvements it sets to achieve in the overall standard of private rented housing in the city.  Reducing the cost of the licence for landlords who have accreditation creates even more of an incentive for landlords to obtain it to demonstrate that they meet the required standards so we would encourage them to make an application now via DASH or Unipol.”

The Building Research Establishment Private Sector Housing stock survey for the City of Nottingham is now available on Nottingham insight and can be accessed here

 

Further Information – selective.licensing@nottinghamcity.gov.uk or telephone 0115 876 2312

 

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