Landlords and tenants – have you heard of Selective Licensing?

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If you are a residential landlord or a tenant in Peterborough, it could affect you!

Selective Licensing will be introduced in four designated areas of Peterborough on 1st December 2016. This means that all private landlords with residential property within those designated areas will have to apply for a licence for each of their properties. The aim of the scheme is to improve living standards within the ever increasing private rental sector in Peterborough. Landlords that fail to do so could find themselves being faced with enforcement action, potentially leading to an unlimited fine!

What is Selective Licencing?

The Housing Act 2004 gives local authorities the power to require residential landlords to obtain a licence in order to let property to tenants within a designated area – this is known as ‘Selective Licensing’. The purpose of this is to improve the overall quality of life for all residents of that particular area by imposing conditions on landlords which demand high standards of management of their privately rented properties. The designated areas were specifically chosen against certain criteria such as:

  • Poor property conditions generally throughout the area;
  • Significant or persistent problems caused by anti-social behaviour; or
  • High levels of deprivation, poverty and crime.

The aim of the scheme is to make a positive contribution to specifically targeted local communities by ensuring that living conditions are maintained at high standards. It is hoped that the knock-on effect will produce an improved image and perception of the area, a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour problems and more settled communities.

What do landlords need to do?

  1. Check if your property falls within one of the four designated areas. To do this, use the helpful interactive map produced by Peterborough City Council here.
  2. If your property is affected, then you will need to apply for a licence for each property you own within the designated area. Applications can be made here on the Peterborough City Council website.
  3. Ensure that you are fully compliant with all of the conditions attached to obtaining a licence. These relate to the management of your property and include holding the correct gas safety certificate, ensuring electrical appliances and furniture supplied are kept in a safe condition, ensuring smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and maintained and supplying your tenants with all appropriate tenancy information at the outset of the let.

How much will the application cost?

For licence applications made before 1st December, the following fees apply:

For licence applications made after 1st December, the fees significantly increase:

  • For a single let, £600 is payable;
  • For a House in Multiple Occupation, as detailed above, £750 is payable; and
  • For a five year period if the landlord fails to register for a licence and the Council has to request registration, £900 is payable.

What happens if I do not comply?

It is a criminal offence to let a privately rented property in a designated area without a licence and failure to apply for one could lead to an unlimited fine. If you are a licence holder found to be in breach of the licence conditions then you could also face prosecution and if convicted, a fine of up to £5,000. In the worst of cases, the Council also has authority to consider revoking your licence and take over management of the property themselves through a Management Order.

Where can I get further information?

The above article has been prepared using the guidance notes issued by Peterborough City Council. The guidance notes and designated area maps together with further information on making your application for a licence are available here.

If you require any further help or information concerning Selective Licensing or the law surrounding Landlords and Tenants please contact our Dispute Resolution department on 01733 882800 or email [email protected].

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