From August 1 Nottingham council is introducing a new selective licensing regime covering an estimated 32,000 privately rented homes.
This is an estimated 91 per cent of all rental properties making it the second scheme in the UK outside of London according to some industry experts.
As usual with such schemes the justification is that bad landlords, in the council’s own words, “fail to carry out essential maintenance, harass tenants or evict them unfairly, ignore legal requirements to protect tenants’ deposits and unfairly withhold deposits at the end of tenancy, add exorbitant fees to tenants’ accounts and fail to make improvements when asked to.”
The scheme will apparently address all these issues, the council suggests.
An official statement by the authority says: “The scheme is aimed at benefitting those good landlords who may struggle to get the rent they want because of the poor conditions of nearby properties. It should also get rogue landlords to change their behaviour, or get out of the market altogether.”
Failure to get a £780 five year licence by August 1 can lead to financial penalties of up to £30,000 or prosecution through the courts.
The East Midlands Property Owners group, representing landlords, says the council has suggested to its members that they should not put up rents and instead treat the licence fees and other associated costs as part of the expense of running their property business.
“This is considering the fact over 60 per cent of the respondents to the council’s selective licensing consultation were from landlords who stated they would pass the costs onto tenants” EMPO says.
The organisation says key conditions linked to the scheme are:
- ensuring the property and its curtilage is kept in repair & adequate security arrangements are in place;
- producing a management plan to deal with tenant ASB in and around the property;
- notifying the council of changes of details or circumstances (i.e. convictions, change of licence holder/ manager);
- providing evidence of formal landlord training in the last three years;
- providing evidence of landlord building insurance and copies of the EPC and gas certificate;
- providing proof of right to reside in the UK;
- providing evidence of Portable Appliance Test for all landlord supplied appliances;
- providing a list of other rental properties owned across the England and Wales;
- providing the number of and sizes of bedrooms.