Navigating the Leicester Selective Licensing Scheme

Selective Licensing arrived in Leicester in October 2022. Initially it is restricted to limited areas of the City, although it has to be expected that if it is a successful venture, Leicester City Council will opt to roll it out further; certainly at the full cost of £1090 per five year license (per property) it’s a considerable money-spinner for the Council, even though they do seem to be resourcing it properly which obviously involves cost.

What’s the point of the Leicester Selective Licensing Scheme?

The Leicester Selective Licensing Scheme is a regulatory framework implemented by the local authority to improve standards in the private rented sector. The scheme requires landlords of privately rented properties within designated areas of the city to obtain a license to operate. The licensing process ensures that landlords meet certain criteria, including property management standards, fire safety measures, and tenant welfare provisions.

Why is compliance essential?

Compliance with the Leicester Selective Licensing Scheme is a legal requirement – landlords in affected areas cannot avoid it (and there are over 8000 rented properties in the initial areas). We can also see it as a moral obligation for landlords. By obtaining a license and adhering to the scheme’s guidelines, landlords demonstrate their commitment to providing safe and suitable accommodation for their tenants. Compliance helps to enhance the overall living standards within the community, reducing risks, and promoting the welfare of residents.

The other reason why it is essential for you as a landlord to be compliant is the risk of fines that arise if you are not! The City Council started with a soft-touch regime of introduction of the Leicester Selective Licensing Scheme without fines while they encouraged landlords to get their licenses. However, this has only ever been a temporary status and fines are now a realistic possibility for any landlord that fails to take steps to secure their license.

In addition, as it is a legal requirement to have a Selective License, a property is in breach of the law without one. As such, a tenancy should not be granted and the Courts can therefore issue a Rent Repayment Order against a landlord – in other words, repayment to the tenant of ALL the rent paid during the tenancy.

We hate being the bearer of bad news where additional layers of bureaucracy are concerned, but in the best interests of those in the Leicester Selective Licensing areas we strongly urge landlords to either take their own steps to get compliant, or for a low-hassle approach to the issue use our Application Service which will secure your license and then keep you compliant.

Our Application Service: Your Partner in Compliance

We understand that navigating through the licensing process can be complex and time-consuming. We have done this ourselves (as we are landlords in the affected area), and we know just how much work is involved – managing all the paperwork, completing a Fire Safety Risk Assessment, creating floorplans, uploading documents, and participating in the inspections. That’s why we have created our Application Service, a dedicated process to deal with selective licensing applications on behalf of landlords (whether clients of Northwood Leicester or not – there’s no difference to the fees). The service offered by Northwood Leicester is designed to simplify the process and ensure that landlords meet all the necessary requirements.

Benefits of Using the Northwood Leicester Application Service

  1. Expert Guidance: The Northwood Leicester team has extensive knowledge of the selective licensing requirements. They deliver expert attention, ensuring that your application is accurate and complete.
  2. Application Assistance: The application process can be challenging, with multiple forms and documents to submit. The Northwood Leicester Application Service manages all the necessary paperwork and administration, eradicating errors and speeding up the process. We are encountering many landlords who either do not have the extended time necessary to undertake the task, or simply do not want to engage with it.
  3. Time Savings: Leicester City Council report that 70% of landlord applications are being done incorrectly, so our Application Service cuts out yet more wasted time for landlords. By utilising our Application Service, you can save valuable time and effort. The team will handle everything right through to ensuring your license is registered properly, allowing you to focus on other things in your life.
  4. Peace of Mind: Knowing that your application has been dealt with by capable hands provides peace of mind. The Northwood Leicester team will keep you informed throughout the process, ensuring a smooth and efficient licensing experience.

Take Action: Be a Compliant Landlord

As a responsible landlord, it is crucial to recognize your role in maintaining safe and well-managed rental properties. By complying with the Leicester Selective Licensing Scheme, you contribute to the overall improvement of living standards within the city. Here are the steps you can take to get a full understanding of the issue:

  1. First, download our FREE Selective Licensing checklist. It contains links to the LCC resources that include guidelines on the process, advice about their enforcement regime, and the map of the initial areas. We lay out for you every step required if you want to do the application yourself.
  2. Engage the Northwood Leicester Application Service: reach out to the Northwood Leicester team for guidance and assistance in completing your licensing application. We can help you navigate the process smoothly.
  3. Read more about the Selective Licensing Scheme, or contact us for more direct information, by visiting our dedicated web pages. Eliot and Gosia are available to guide the process and answer any questions.
  4. Maintain Standards: once you have obtained your license, make sure to maintain high property management standards, including regular inspections, prompt repairs, and compliance with fire safety regulations. Of course, your best option is to employ a full time agent on your behalf.
  5. Thinking of selling instead? Of course, this is one more in a series of burdens that landlords may feel unwarranted. Profit margins are being worn very thin by tax, interest rate rises, and upcoming Net Zero legislation, so the imposition of Selective Licensing could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Again, we’re here to help: check here for our dedicated sales service for landlords that want to look at how an investor sale could be the solution.