A Landlords Guide To Selective Licensing

Selective Licensing Schemes Has Led To Confusion Amongst Landlords

If you’re a private landlord in Bristol, you’ll no doubt already be familiar with the need to stay up-to-date with ever-changing laws and regulations – something that can present some significant challenges.

One regulation you need to know about is SLSs or Selective Licensing Schemes. Our expert team at Northwood Bristol have some helpful advice so you can be well-informed about these schemes and whether they are likely to impact your property.

Selective Licensing – What Is It?

First introduced almost two decades ago, selective licensing schemes gave local authorities the right to introduce licenses for specific kinds of private rental properties. The idea behind the schemes was to improve the conditions and management of private rentals within specified areas, targeting both anti-social tenants and rogue landlords in one fell swoop. Yet, while the concept behind selective licensing is good, there are a lot of inconsistencies between various councils, which has led to some confusion amongst landlords.

Does Every Local Authority Run A Selective License Scheme?

Selective licensing schemes aren’t nationwide, because not every area meets the licensing criteria. Nevertheless, since the schemes were first introduced in 2006, more councils have taken the decision to introduce their own SLSs, and more than one hundred now operate throughout the country.

All local authorities have their own criteria regarding licensing, and fees and rules vary between councils. Not only that, but local authorities are also permitted to run several SLSs at any time, so it’s no wonder landlords are confused!

Although all local authorities are permitted to introduce selective licensing, they can only do this if they can demonstrate that there is a need for such a scheme in their area. Specific criteria must be met if a council is to be allowed to introduce selecting licensing.

Which Criteria Must Be Met For An Authority To Introduce An SLS?

The criteria that must be met to qualify for the introduction of an SLS are quite varied. An area must meet at least one of these conditions:

  • There must be a low demand for housing.
  • Anti-social behaviour must be a persistent and significant problem.
  • Conditions of properties in the area must be poor.
  • There must be high migration levels.
  • There must be high deprivation levels.
  • There must be high crime levels.

Different local authorities have drafted their schemes in various ways determining which kind of properties are affected. While some schemes target specific council wards or areas, others are borough-wide. Our advice for landlords in Bristol is to check with the local authority website to determine the current situation.

What Would Happen If A Landlord Failed To Comply?

If you fail to comply, the penalty could be severe. Different authorities enforce different penalties, but they could include RROs (rent repayment orders), civil penalties of as much as £30,000 or banning orders.

Can A Landlord Sell A Property With A Selective Licence?

Landlords can sell a property with a selective licence, but the old licence will become invalid when the sale goes through. Therefore, the new property owner would have to apply for their own licence and pay the fee themselves.

If you’re a landlord in Bristol and need advice about selective licensing schemes or are looking for an effective property management solution to ensure compliance at all times, get in touch with the Northwood Bristol team today on 0117 9635777 or at bristol@northwooduk.com. As specialists in this field, we can ensure that your property fully complies with all legal requirements.