Please see below common questions and answers that have been taken from the local authority’s FAQ’s document:
Do I need to tell others, like my mortgage provider, about my licence application?
Licences are legally enforceable and may require changes to the house. People with a legal interest in the property have a statutory right to know how the licence may affect them. This would include mortgage companies, other owners, managers, leaseholders, freeholders etc.
Is the fee refundable if the property is sold within 5 years?
The Council will only give a refund if a duplicate application has been made or an application has been made for an exempted property by mistake.
I am selling a Licensed house, what do I need to do?
Licences are non-transferable. When you sell a licensed house you must inform the Council that you have done so because the new owner will need to apply for a Licence if they are also intending to rent it out.
Is the licence fee tax deductible?
The Council understands that the fee is tax deductible as an expense in running the business, however it is recommended that landlords receive independent financial and legal advice on this.
What happens if I do not comply with the licence conditions?
You run the risk of prosecution and a possible unlimited fine. The Council can now issue financial penalties of up to £30,000 for certain offences under the Housing Act 2004. This would be instead of prosecution. It may also affect your ‘fit and proper’ status and your licences will most likely be revoked.
What changes have the council made to the licence conditions?
1. Proof of building insurance will now only need to show it is for a buy to let property and provide public liability cover. It will no longer need to specify alternative accommodation for tenants in the event of non-habitation (e.g. fire, flood etc).
2. If the licence holder has a current, standard or enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate, it will be accepted as part of the application process provided there are no convictions listed on it.
3. There is no requirement for an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR), although should the property not hold one, it will be rated as higher risk by the Selective Licensing team which increases the probability of it being inspected throughout the licence period. It is worth noting that EICR’s are expected to become a legal requirement across the entire Private Rented Sector from October 2019 so it may still be prudent to get one completed and DASH accreditation still requires an EICR.
4. There is no longer a requirement to fit a thumb turn mortice lock on the front door of the property.
5. Floorplans are no longer required; however, there remains a discussion about whether room sizes will be required as part of the online application form. We are expecting a decision on this imminently.
6. There is no longer a requirement to produce an inventory.