Anthea Lettings – Selective Licensing

The Housing Act 2004 provided for the introduction of a scheme of selective licensing of private landlords in a local housing authority’s area. This selective licensing was intended to address the impact of poor quality private landlords and anti-social tenants.

It was primarily developed with problems in areas of low housing demand in mind, although the Act does allow for selective licensing in some other circumstances. 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).

“Selective licensing” rules within the legislation to impose on landlords blanket provisions across whole boroughs, towns and cities. This means that individual private landlords are seeing average charges of £500 for every unit they let.

The National Landlords Association has launched a social media campaign against the introduction of selective licensing in certain parts of England. The NLA claims that more and more councils are bringing forward selective licensing schemes where there is “little substantial evidence to justify them”. Working closely with its local members, the organisation is campaigning to stop the introduction of selective licensing and help landlords and tenants who would be directly affected by proposing “more constructive alternative approaches”.

The NLA believes that selective licensing will not solve the problem of poor housing standards, anti-social behaviour or low housing demand and is concerned that the legislation will merely serve to license the good, law-abiding landlords and push the criminal landlord’s further underground, as it is unlikely that a crooked landlord would apply for a license.

Carolyn Uphill, NLA chairman, said: “Selective licensing is a powerful tool at the disposal of local authorities, but it is only one of many available and should only be used when appropriate. Licensing is expensive and has the potential to have a disproportionate impact on the compliant majority who are not at fault while allowing the criminal minority to continue beneath the radar.

“Councils already have a vast array of existing powers available to them to deal with criminals and we believe that targeted intelligence-led enforcement against rogue operators is a better solution.

“We want to encourage co-operation between councils and landlords, and believe accreditation is a better way to encourage this, and give tenants confidence in their landlord. The NLA has released a tenant information pack, which we would be happy to co-badge with any council wanting to help promote best practice and to ensure both landlords and tenants know their obligations.”

At Anthea Lettings we are able to help with any advice you may need relating to selective licensing.