How does selective licensing work?
Sections 80 to 84 of the Housing Act of 2004 in particular govern selective licensing. It seeks to address problems like antisocial behaviour, subpar property maintenance, and ineffective management. The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006, Regulation 9, are also pertinent.
This programme was put in place by local governments to raise the calibre of privately leased homes in particular locations. Its intention is to give tenants the assurance that their homes would be secure and healthy places to live. Landlords are required by the scheme to obtain a licence for each property they let within a designated area.
What advantages does selective licensing offer to landlords?
The advantages of selective licensing for a landlord include:
Increased property value as it demonstrates that your property complies with the regulations.
Improved marketability since as it reassures prospective tenants.
Better neighbourhoods as it is hoped licencing will reduce antisocial activity and fosters safer communities.
Longer-term rentals due to increased tenant satisfaction as tenants are ensured of the proper management of their home.
What obligations does selective licensing impose on a landlord?
All landlords are already required to abide by many of the obligations listed below, do not presume that because your property does not require a selective licence that you do not have a legal obligation to fulfil something mentioned below. If in doubt call us for clarification. Property and management requirements will also need to be followed by landlords.
The licence holder must present Birmingham City Council with a current Gas Safety Certificate.
The licence holder is required to maintain the electrical appliances they have made available in the home in a safe manner. We ensure that annual PAT testing is carried out in all properties that we manage. This helps demonstrate that this condition is being met.
Furniture and Furnishings
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations of 1988 (as revised in 1989 and 1993) must be followed by the licence holder to guarantee that any furniture and furnishings supplied by them are safe from fire.
The licence holder is required to install smoke alarms and submit information on their location on each floor of the home where there is a room used entirely or partially as a living space. b) The licence holder is responsible for testing and maintaining the smoke alarms.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Any room that contains a solid fuel combustion appliance that is utilised entirely or partially as living space must have a carbon monoxide alarm installed, and the licence holder is required to disclose the location. The licence holder is responsible for testing and maintaining the CO alarms.
All potential occupants of the home must provide references to the licence holder.
Terms of Occupation
A written description of the conditions under which the dwelling is occupied must be provided by the licence holder to the residents. Typically, this is covered by a tenancy agreement.
Change in Situation
Any significant change in circumstances that might have an impact on the legality and conditions of the licence must be reported to the Council by the licence holder within 14 days.
A current Energy Performance Certificate must be given to every new tenant.
The licence holder is responsible for making sure that no rooms other than bedrooms are utilised for sleeping and that the occupancy of the property does not go above the limits specified in the licence.
The licence holder is required to: a) Change the locks before a new tenant moves in unless all keys are returned to them by the outgoing tenant. b) Ensure that the measures in place to secure access to the property are kept up to date and well maintained. c) Assure that the occupants have the means to use all security features, such as keys for window locks, if any are installed. d) In cases where the property has a burglar alarm installed, the tenants are instructed on the code, how to use the alarm, and when the code can be changed. e) As soon as it is reasonably practical, any work required to maintain the property’s security is started within 24 hours of notification.
Crime and Antisocial Behaviour
The Licence Holder is required to: a) take all appropriate measures to deter or lessen criminal or antisocial behaviour by the residents and guests of the Property. b) The Licence Holder will look into complaints when they are made and take the necessary steps to address them. The relevant authorities must be notified if the licence holder has cause to believe that criminal behaviour is occurring on the site. c) There might be occasions when antisocial behaviour happens more than once, but not consistently and perhaps intermittently over several months. As far as is reasonably practical, the Licence Holder must take all necessary actions to ensure that the situation is appropriately handled, this may include eviction.
Waste Management and Recycling
The Licence Holder is required to: a) Ensure that adequate and reasonable arrangements are made for the storage of waste generated on the property, and that residents utilise the Council’s provided containers for storage prior to collection. No rubbish container may cause an obstruction. b) Instruct the tenants in writing about waste and recycling within seven days of their arrival.
The Licence Holder must ensure a thorough inventory is conducted, which will be agreed upon with each tenant prior to their occupancy of the property. Each party is required to maintain their own copy.
The licence holder is required to keep a record of all rent payments received for the property.
The Licence Holder must have suitable emergency and backup plans in place. We suggest a list of alternative contacts be displayed in a prominent position within the property, along with their name and phone number.
Although this list may appear endless, Let’s Find a Room is experienced in all of these areas. Numerous of these are already taken into account when building HMOs. We can assist in becoming and maintaining compliance with the requirements governing selective licensing through our renting services.
How do I make a selective licence application?
Landlords must first complete the registration and application process, which is as follows:
The following are required to apply for a licence, though a management agent may do so on behalf of a property with the landlord’s consent:
- The name and contact information for any party with a stake in the property, such as the owner, freeholder, or mortgage lender
- The licence holder’s birthdate
- A list of all rooms’ square footage measurements and locations within the house
- Certificate of current inspection and testing of electrical installations
- A current certificate of gas safety, if applicable
- Pay the licencing fee using a debit or credit card.
Please get in touch with us if you require help with your licence application; we have years of experience with Birmingham City Council applications.
What is the price of a selective licence?
The fees are made up of an application charge of £375, and approval fee of £295. Additional charges may be necessary, for items such as changing the mortgage, the owner, the number of tenants, or other data related to the property. Licences are not transferable, if you sell the property, the new owner will need to apply again.
The payment was established by the local authority to cover their administrative expenses, and the licence will be valid for the current 5-year length of the scheme.
How would tenants benefit from selective licensing?
Improved living conditions and safety regulations will give tenants peace of mind that their rights are safeguarded from substandard homes and dishonest landlords. They will have access to support services and complaint procedures.
What further advantages does selective licensing offer?
Within the specifies wards a privately rented house can be clearly identified thanks to licencing, allowing the council, social services, police, fire and rescue services, border control and immigration, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and others to provide guidance and support to both tenants and landlords. In that a property is either licenced or unlicensed, it presents a clearly defined infraction. Additionally, it makes tenants and landlords’ responsibilities clear and who the owner is, which makes enforcement easier and more efficient.
There is a chance that the inspection procedure will identify further violations when a landlord is operating purposefully without a licence. Therefore, licensing gives landlords and local authorities a clear direction for effective participation and raises landlord understanding of their duties.
Birmingham City Council hopes that the programme will:
- Decrease instances of environmental crime.
- Decrease incidents of burglary as entrance points will be made secure.
- Ascertain the “fit and proper” status of the licence holder.
- Reduce tax evasion by landlords.
- Decrease benefit fraud.
Does my property have a selective licence exemption?
You won’t require a selective licence at this time if your property is not located in one of the 25 designated regions, (this is written on the 7th June ’23, we expect the scheme to be rolled out further in the future). Assuming your property is in one of the chosen wards, you will be exempt IF:
- The property already has a mandatory or additional licence as an HMO
- The property is directly overseen by an educational institution
- The property is rented from a social landlord with proper permits, like a housing association.
How will selective licensing be implemented?
Selective licensing in Birmingham came in to force on June 5th 2023. However, we expect enforcement to pick up in early September.
What are the penalties for not having a licence?
Under the terms of an assured shorthold lease, a landlord who is required to acquire a licence but does not forfeits the right to immediate possession of the rented property.
Prosecution with a fine of up to £30,000, a criminal record, and a civil penalty notice.
Being listed on the National Rogue Landlord Database, being barred from acting as a landlord for at least a year, and in some cases indefinitely (thus losing the right to rent property in England)
If the landlord has been found guilty of operating a licensable property without a licence, tenants may apply for a Rent Repayment Order with a Residential Property Tribunal. Potentially, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant or the council 100% of the rent from the previous year.
Don’t let the volume of information overwhelm you; get in touch with us for assistance managing your property and ensuring that you are adhering to all council requirements as you submit your licence application.