Property licensing can be a complicated subject to understand especially if you’re relatively new to property ownership and being a landlord.
In this article, we’ll discuss selective licensing schemes and also talk about a few petitions that are against the scheme.
What is Selective Licensing?
First, let’s start by explaining selective licensing. It was introduced in 2006 to enforce rules on rogue landlords to ensure that they put more thought into who they allow to rent their properties to reduce antisocial behaviour.
In areas that selective licensing applies, landlords have to register for a license if they want to rent out a property.
It means that the council determines whether or not a landlord is suitable as a landlord, but it also means they make other stipulations on the management of the property as well as relevant safety concerns.
The problem with selective licensing is that there are thousands of law-abiding landlords that are already making sure that their tenants won’t cause trouble, but are effectively breaking the law because they don’t realize that they are in a selective licensing area and don’t hold a license.
Punishments can be incredibly high, with landlords being forced to pay back 12 months’ worth of rent back to their tenants or be told that they will not be allowed to rent out a property in the future.
It’s important to check if you are in a selective licensing area to avoid these harsh fines. The safest bet is to contact your local council to determine if you are indeed in a selective licensing area.
Councils can introduce a selective licensing scheme if they determine that there is a low housing demand or if there are persistent antisocial behaviour-related problems in an area.
Fees for a license can depend on the size of a property, but they are typically around £400 for an ordinary property that houses a single family.
The council will also make requests, such as to see the location of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and also details on tenants and tenancy agreements.
The official publication at https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcomloc/440/44007.htm will explain more about selective licensing schemes and how they are implemented.
The paper also describes how in some areas, thousands of prosecutions were handed out to criminal landlords and over two dozen were banned in sectors such as the London Borough of Newham.
Petitions Against Selective Licensing
There are many petitions that are already making a move against selective licensing in different areas of the UK.
This is because landlords believe that some areas have been unfairly targeted, and some do not meet the government guidance conditions for selective licensing.
This petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/223039 has received 1,904, with a deadline of 2nd January 2019.
At 10,000 signatures, the government promises to respond to the concern and at 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.