The Housing Act 2004 gives Council’s the power to introduce the selective licensing of private rented homes within a designated area. Under the scheme, owners or managers of private rented properties are legally required to obtain a licence for each property that they rent out in the designated area.
Where will the Selective Licensing Scheme Apply?
The proposed designated areas are Central Stockton and North Thornaby. Please see the maps below for more information:
Both Central Stockton and North Thornaby are areas with very high concentrations of private rented housing that are, or are likely to become areas of low housing demand and are experiencing high levels of deprivation. In addition these are areas which suffer high levels of crime and anti-social behavior. The Council proposes to use Selective Licensing as a tool alongside a range of other measures to seek to address low housing demand and achieve a more balanced housing market, including a quality private rented sector.
Who is being consulted and how?
Residents, landlords, businesses and stakeholders who live, operate or have an interest in the proposed Selective Licensing areas and those immediately in the surrounding areas will be targeted directly to give their opinion. The Council will do this through direct mail of questionnaires, leaflets, press releases, social media and via drop-in events.
How have these areas been chosen for a Selective Licensing Scheme?
All private landlords would need to apply for a licence for each residential property they let within the proposed designated areas. In order to be a licence holder they must be a fit and proper person in terms of their suitability to manage their property/properties.
The licence contains conditions some of which are mandatory. These relate to gas, electrical, fire safety, tenancy agreements and referencing. Stockton Council is also proposing additional conditions relating to:
The Council believes Selective Licensing will benefit the local community. It will ensure that all private properties within the designated area are managed to a satisfactory standard. Some of the expected benefits include:
Benefits for landlords
Improved confidence in the market and potential growth in property values
A level playing field where all landlords are required to operate to the same standard
Improved communications with the Council
Better understanding of their statutory responsibilities through training sessions etc
Supporting advice for inexperienced landlords.
Benefits for tenants
Better understanding of the standards they should expect
Better understanding of their responsibilities
Written tenancy agreements, inventories and protected deposits
Confidence that the Council will help if licence conditions are not met.
Benefits for the wider community
Shorter void periods and less tenant turnover
Improved quality of life, image and desirability of the area
Fewer empty properties
Less anti-social behaviour
Increase in the length of tenancies resulting in more settled communities.
Will landlords have to pay for a licence and what will it involve?
Yes. The proposed standard licence fee per property is £945. This fee will cover the five year licence for one licence holder. It is proposed that a fee discount of £100 per property will be offered for members of The Council’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme or if the proposed licence holder is a full member of the National Landlords Association or the Residential Landlords Association. More information can be found by viewing the Selective Licensing Fee Proposal – Appendix Fivedocument.
What could happen if a private landlord fails to meet the licence conditions or lets their property in a designated Selective Licence area without a licence?
Failure to apply/obtain a licence could lead to an unlimited fine or a Civil Penalty of up to £30,000. In addition where a breach of a licence condition is identified this could lead to a fine of £5,000 or a Civil Penalty for each breach.
What are the next steps?
The Council will consider all representations made. Consultation will last for ten weeks, from 30 July 2018 to 4pm on 8 October 2018. At the end of the consultation the Council has three options:
To do nothing and not implement a scheme of Selective Licensing
To amend the Selective Licensing proposal
To proceed with the Selective Licensing scheme with a three month notification period before the scheme comes into force.
Following the consultation the Council will publish its findings and details of the next steps.
Drop-in Sessions for Residents
If you have any queries regarding the Selective Licensing proposal please contact us directly or call into one of the following special drop in sessions:
Friday 17 August 2018 at 2pm to 4pm
Salvation Army Citadel
Thursday 2 August 2018 at 10am to 12pm
Yarm Road Methodist Church
Thursday 9 August 2018 at 2pm to 4pm
Wednesday 29 August 2018 at 5pm to 7pm
Wednesday 15 August 2018 at 5pm to 7pm
Jim Cooke Suite
Stockton Library and Customer Service Centre
Drop in Sessions for Landlords only
Landlords and Managing Agents who have questions about the Selective Licensing proposal can call in to one of the following drop in sessions held at the Jim Cooke Suite located in Stockton Library and Customer Service Centre:
Session One – Thursday 2 August 2018 at 5pm to 7pm
Session Two – Monday 20 August 2018 at 10am to 12pm