Selective Licensing Consultation – Frequently Asked Questions
We have produced a series of questions and answers relating to the proposed Selective Licensing Schemes and the Consultation process.
Frequently asked questions
What is Ashfield District Council consulting on?
We are consulting on the proposal to renew the Selective Licensing Schemes in parts of Sutton Central (New Cross) and Stanton Hill.
Why don't you just go ahead and renew Selective Licensing without consultation?
It is a statutory requirement that we consult with all residents, landlords, business and other stakeholders in the proposed area in order to introduce a Selective Licensing scheme.
Why are you consulting?
Part 3, Section 80 (9) of the Housing Act 2004 states that when considering designating an area the local housing authority must:
- take reasonable steps to consult persons who are likely to be affected by the designation; and
- consider any representations made in accordance with the consultation
How long will the consultation last?
We are consulting for 10 weeks, from 17 December 2021 to 28 February 2022.
How can I have my say?
The easiest way is to complete the online feedback form.
Alternatively, you can have your say by email or telephone:
- email: EHresidential@ashfield.gov.uk
- telephone: 01623 457345
We will also be arranging a number of drop-in sessions when you can speak to officers’ face to face. These will take place as follows;
- 12pm to 2pm, Wednesday 2 February at Healdswood Community Centre ,Mansfield Road , Skegby, NG17 3EE
- 11am to 1pm, Tuesday 8 February at New Cross Community Church Downing Street Sutton in Ashfield NG17 4E
We would like your views on all aspects of the scheme, from which streets are included in the licensing areas, to the licensing conditions and the licence fee.
What happens after the consultation?
A report will be produced to record the views and opinions of those consulted and to recommend whether or not to proceed with the proposed schemes. A decision will be made by the Council’s Cabinet.
What is Selective Licensing?
Selective Licensing is a discretionary licensing scheme, which requires all landlords operating within a designated area to licence any privately rented property within that area. Selective Licensing was introduced within the Housing Act 2004 under Part 3, Section 80.
For Selective Licensing we must be satisfied that one of the following issues are present, and that licensing will help to improve the issue:
- low demand (or is likely to become such an area)
- significant or persistent problems caused by anti-social behaviour
- poor property conditions
- high levels of migration
- high levels of deprivation
- high levels of crime
Why are you proposing to renew the Selective Licensing Schemes?
The original Selective Licensing Schemes have helped improve property conditions and management standards. It is important that standards are maintained and continue to improve where possible.
Likewise, issues such as antisocial behaviour and crime remain a problem. Those living in the private rented homes can be perpetrator or victim. An effective Selective Licensing Scheme is part of the partnership approach to dealing with these.
Where are the proposed Selective Licensing areas?
The plans below show the 2 proposed areas. The plans show the outline of the original selective licensing schemes whereas the blue lines denote the proposed new boundaries.
Stanton Hill, Sutton in Ashfield
Sutton Central (New Cross), Sutton in Ashfield District Council
Why are you proposing to change the boundaries?
Extra properties and streets have been added where there is a high number of privately rented homes and where problems have been reported to us regarding poor housing standards, anti-social behaviour and where there are a high number of reported crimes.
What are the benefits of Selective Licensing?
We believe Selective Licensing will:
- improve management standards
- improve the quality of our neighbourhoods
- support safe, inclusive and cohesive communities
What evidence is there the Selective Licensing Schemes should be renewed?
Evidence supporting the proposal to renew the Selective Licensing Schemes can be found in the Evaluation Report.
What properties could be affected by Selective Licensing?
All privately rented properties within the proposed areas would be subject to Selective Licensing.
Are there any other properties which are exempt from Selective Licensing?
Council properties, properties managed by registered providers (formerly known as Housing Associations), other housing providers and other regulated bodies, will be exempt.
I thought you already licensed properties such as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)?
Under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004, we have a statutory duty to licence privately rented HMOs, with 5 or more persons in 2 or more households, sharing an amenity regardless of the number of storeys to be licensed. This is known as Mandatory Licensing.
The Selective Licensing scheme applies to all other private rented properties, which would include self-contained flats and single houses and other property types within the proposed area.
Any properties which currently have HMO Licences would be exempt from Selective Licensing, as they are currently licensed.
Is this a property or landlord licence scheme?
This is a property licence scheme, and every property a landlord owns within the proposed boundary would need its own licence.
How long will the licence last?
The period of designation lasts for 5 years and will include mandatory and discretionary conditions aimed at ensuring licensed properties are safe, meet basic standards and are managed in a satisfactory way.
Is the licence transferable?
A property licence is not transferable to another property, person or organisation.
Would an empty property need a licence?
A licence is only required if the property is privately rented and occupied.
What is the application process?
We have an online application and payment system. Supporting information, such as safety certificates can be submitted online.
In some circumstances further information may be required before a licence can be processed, e.g. informed consent forms for people that are named in licence applications, joint freeholders.
What would happen if a landlord failed to apply for a licence?
It is a legal requirement for landlords to apply for a licence, and a criminal offence if a landlord fails to do so. This could then involve a financial penalty, which if prosecuted through the courts could be an unlimited fine.
Who should be the licence holder?
We can only grant a licence to someone who is in control of the property. It is the owner's responsibility to ensure that an application for a licence is made for their property; however, they may not necessarily be the licence holder.
Landlords who manage their properties directly should apply for a licence. Where a managing agent is used, the managing agent could apply for the licence and the landlord will need to provide information about the property and give their consent.
Where a manager is employed, financial arrangements must be in place to ensure that any works deemed necessary for the proper management and maintenance of the property can be carried out.
When a limited Company is the licence holder, then the company secretary or other authorised signatory should be the licence holder. You must be a resident in the UK to be a licence holder.
What happens if I don't get a licence?
If you don't apply for a licence and continue to rent your property, then you will be committing a criminal offence.
What happens if the licence conditions are breached?
If a licence is issued and the conditions are subsequently breached, this could lead to us taking Court action or issuing a civil penalty of up to £30,000.
Breaching the licence conditions could lead to the revocation of the licence unless a suitable alternative licence holder could be found.
Will my property be inspected?
We are aiming to inspect every property once during the 5 year licence period.
A higher risk property will be inspected sooner than a lower risk one. The level of risk, depends on previous history, condition, management, etc.
How much will a licence cost?
The licence fee will be £350 and will be for the duration of the designation of the Selective Licensing scheme, which will be 5 years from the commencement of the approval of the licence.
The proposal is to discount the licence fee by £100 if the applicant is fully accredited. This will be accreditation through agencies such as DASH. Confirmation of accreditation will be required.
Can I pay in instalments?
There is no option to pay by instalments.
Isn't this just a way of raising revenue for the Council?
Any income generated from licensing fees can only be paid towards the running costs of the scheme.
We are not allowed to make any surplus on the scheme to be used for any other purpose.
I'm a landlord of a property that could be subject to Selective Licensing. What do I need to do?
If you are a landlord of a privately rented property within the proposed area then you will need to apply for a licence, unless your property is deemed exempt as mentioned previously.
There will be one licence fee of £350. The licence and fee will be for the duration of the designation of the Selective Licensing scheme, which will be 5 years from the commencement of the scheme.
I'm a tenant of a property that could be subject to Selective Licensing. How will it affect me?
As stated earlier, Selective Licensing requires landlords to provide items such as gas safety certificates, the safe provision of electrical appliances and furniture and to keep the fire detection and alarm system in working order.
This should provide a greater degree of safety and reassurance to the tenant.
Tenants will have reassurance that checks have been done to ensure both the property and any shared facilities are suitable and that the property is suitable to be occupied by the number of people living there.
Will I be able to see which properties are licensed?
We will keep a register of properties that are licensed and this will be publicly available on this website.
What conditions will apply to Selective Licensing?
There will be a range of conditions attached to each licence which will relate to the management of the property. There are some mandatory conditions, which are required by law to be included in the licence. These include conditions regarding gas safety, electrical safety, smoke alarms etc.
We have the discretion to attach a range of local conditions. These will include conditions regarding energy performance, security, property management and dealing with anti-social behaviour amongst others.
Full details of the proposed licensing conditions can be viewed on the Proposed Selective Licensing Conditions page.
How will you manage to license all these properties?
We are proposing to employ more officers to implement the scheme.
I'm not a tenant but I do live in the area so how would it affect me?
Selective Licensing will ensure that privately rented properties in your area are being managed efficiently and will enable us to take enforcement action against a wider range of properties where there may be problems.
This should result in benefits to all residents, businesses and visitors to the local area.
Will you penalise those that don't licence?
There will be a targeted approach to enforcement and we will use a variety of methods to find those that haven't licensed. We will respond to complaints received about unlicensed property.
Where necessary we will seek to prosecute those that continue to refuse to licence their property.
How will you know which ones are unlicensed?
Tenants will be able to inform us if their property is unlicensed. We will use a variety of methods, working with other partners to seek out unlicensed properties.
There will be a public register of licensed property, so it will be easy for people to find out if the property they are concerned about is licensed or not.
If you decide to introduce Selective Licensing, when will it commence?
The consultation runs until 28 February 2022, after which a report will be taken to Cabinet on the outcome of the consultation in March 2022.
If Cabinet approves the designation of a Selective Licensing scheme, we will make then issue a Public Notice for a minimum of 3 months prior to implementation.