Hot on the heels of the myriad other pressures that landlords are just now contemplating with increasing alarm (the rising base rate and consequent increases in landlord mortgages; the impending abolition of Section 21; EPC minimum rating rising to “C” by 2025, etc.), some landlords in Leicester now have to contend with the introduction of a new Selective Licensing Scheme.
The Scheme has already started
If it all comes across as just another slug of the increasing burden of landlord regulation that Leicester landlords are facing, that’s understandable. To be fair, although the scheme in the Fosse Ward of Leicester comes at a princely cost (£1090 per property for a five year license), Leicester City Council (LCC) are taking a measured approach. They have included a telephone support helpline and a stated desire to work with landlords rather than taking a literal enforcement tack from the outset.
LCC say they are coming across landlords who want to use the Selective Licensing advice in the affected areas to guide them as to how to improve properties they may have in other areas, and in principle that can’t be a bad thing. They have a Fire Risk Safety Assessment template on the site, and this will be important for any landlord as the FRSA is a complex subject area.
If there’s enough interest, Derby DASH will put on a virtual Fire Risk Assessment course “at a basic level” for Leicester landlords – well worth pressing for this, we’d suggest.
However, with only 174 applications so far from Leicester landlords, things seem to be off to a slow start, and this may be down to simple communication in the first instance. Hopefully if you are an owner in an affected area (see below) you are already aware of the scheme – although as an affected landlord myself I was not contacted directly at any point by LCC, so beware lack of awareness.
So, what does the Selective Licensing Scheme involve?
To give you the lowdown, here’s the key issues. First, and most importantly, Leicester has decided to levy the highest cost for such a scheme in the Midlands: £1090 per property. The license lasts for five years and is then renewable. There are some discounts for early registration in the first six months , so as the scheme started on October 10 2022, get your skates on to take advantage of such largesse.
The areas affected are in this map.
You must apply through the dedicated web pages in the Leicester.gov.uk site: www.leicester.gov.uk/selectivelicensing
The process is that an application leads to an inspection, and over the term of the license there will be three of these. The inspection is led by the 29 hazards in the HHSRS legislation, which if you are so minded you can delve into here. It’s 72 pages mind, so if you want a more manageable guide to landlord regulations in the housing standards arena perhaps the best advice I can offer is just to contact us in the Northwood Leicester office – we are always ready to offer guidance to help landlords with compliance (and advice on how to improve housing for tenants as this helps weed out the few bad landlords that blight our sector – we would all benefit from this).
LCC are committing to a seven week turnaround from application to issue of the license.
Get advice on grants for energy improvements
And LCC offer some good advice for landlords on applying for grant aid to make some energy saving improvements – although the qualification criteria make this more limited than we would like to see. In essence, your tenants need to be in receipt of specific benefits…but it’s massively worth your while as a Leicester landlord to see if you can take advantage of grant support.
Compliance is mandatory
Finally, remember, this is a legal requirement, and there’s no avoiding sign up if you are in an affected zone. Failure to do so could trigger some very serious other consequences that we want to share with landlords. Contact us for a chat and to discuss your property needs, especially if you need help in the area of landlord rules and regulations. This is our specialist area of expertise gained from over twenty-plus years in local operation.
Call our team direct on 0116 271 7121