Nottingham Selective Licensing Scheme
Help with compliance
What you need to know about being a licence holder.
In Nottingham it is possible for the landlord, the agent and manager to be a licence holder. During the consultation and implementation period Nottingham City Council decided that landlords, agents and managers could also be joint licence holders.
At first NGalloway intended to be the sole licence holder because we wanted the responsibility for our whole portfolio but this meant that landlords would have to stay with us for the whole 5 year period.
The licensing was new to everyone and we thought that creating a contract that meant landlords would have to stay with us or apply again was an unfair contract term so we were pleased when the council decided joint licence holders were allowed.
Therefore Nottingham City Council has introduced joint licensing which means that a landlord can be a licence holder along with their agent or manager. If the relationship breaks down or the landlord simply wants to end the contract this is now possible by varying the licence. The agent or manager can also vary the licence if he feels the landlord is not complying with the selective licensing conditions.
If you are an absent landlord that lives outside the UK then you will need to find a licence holder that is willing to take on that extra responsibility. They need to be local and ideally an agent. Landlords outside the UK are not considered able to proactively manage their properties. If you are one of these landlords then we are willing to be the licence holder providing your property meets all the relevant standards. We don’t charge any extra for this.
Selective Licensing comes from additional licensing in the 2004 Housing Act and gives local authorities the power to designate areas for licensing.
Nottingham City Council wanted to designate a much larger area than normal so had to provide much more proof of the need. They then had to present this to the secretary of state who agreed. There are 6 main themes that can mean a scheme is introduced and these are: 1. Low housing demand 2. Antisocial behavour 4. Poor property conditions 5. Migration 6. Deprivation
The Nottingham Selective Licensing scheme is set to start on 1st August 2018. There are anticipated to be over 32,000 private rental properties in the scheme. Online applications open on 1st July 2018 and the areas covered in the designation are;
Hempshill Vale, Bulwell, Highbury Vale, Old Basford, Basford, Whitemoor, Sherwood, Mapperley Park, Radford, St Anns, The Park, Sneinton, Lenton, Lenton Abbey, Dunkirk, The Meadows, Wilford and Silverdale.
The Netherfield scheme covers around 650 privately rented properties and is being run slightly different to the Nottingham Scheme because the council intend to inspect 100% of the properties before issuing a licence.
It is being run by Gedling Borough Council and starts on 1st October 2018. The cost for accredited landlords is £490 and for non-accredited landlords it is £640. The designation covers the Netherfield ward. CHECK HERE IF YOUR PROPERTY NEEDS A LICENCE
Once a Selective Licensing designation has been made, any private landlord wishing to rent out properties within the designated area must apply for a licence. A separate licence must be obtained for every tenanted house within the designated area.
A landlord’s failure to apply for a licence to rent a property in a designated selective licencing area could result in prosecution with the potential of a civil penalty of up to £30,000. It is also a criminal offence not to licence your property. Tenants can also claim their rent back for the whole period you did not have a licence.
Introduction to the Selective Licence Conditions
In Nottingham alone there are over 32,000 privately rented properties that will become liable for Selective Licences by 1st August 2018.
There are 35 Selective Licensing Conditions that set out your obligations and these have have been put in place to regulate the private rental sector in Nottingham.
The conditions require landlords to achieve certain standards of management and maintenance, helping to bring about better quality housing in Nottingham and there are severe penalties for non-compliance.
- The loss of your selective licence, or special conditions imposed which could effect your whole portfolio.
- Civil penalties up to £30,000 are available per offence instead of prosecution.
- Prosecution and a prison sentence and or an unlimited fine and a criminal record if you don’t get a civil penalty.
- You could be registered on the national data-base of rogue landlords so you won’t be able to be a landlord anywhere.
When civil penalties are issued the council can put a charge on the land registry of your property so non-payment would put your properties at risk of repossession.
Let us take the hassle and worry away. Let us manage your property. We have designed our standard terms of service to take account of the Selective Licensing Conditions.
1. Where gas is supplied to the house the licence holder shall ensure that all gas installations and appliances are in a safe condition at all times and that an annual gas safety check is carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The licence holder shall provide a copy of the gas safety certificate to all tenants/occupiers at the beginning of their tenancy and keep a written record that it has been provided.*
2. The licence holder shall produce the gas safety certificate issued in respect of the house within the previous 12 months for inspection within 7 days of the Council’s demand. *Details of Gas Safe engineers can be found at www.gassaferegister.co.uk
Safety of Electrical Appliances
3. The licence holder shall ensure that electrical appliances and furniture made available by them in the house are kept in a safe condition and proper working order at all times.*
4. The licence holder shall ensure that a record of visual inspections and tests of such appliances is maintained and shall submit this record to the Council within 7 days of the Council’s demand.
5. Within 7 days of the Council’s demand, the licence holder shall supply a declaration as to the safety of electrical appliances and furniture made available by them at the house.*
Safety of Electrical Installations
6. The licence holder shall ensure that the electrical installations in the house are kept safe and in proper working order at all times.
Smoke Alarms / Fire Detection Systems
7. The licence holder must ensure that a smoke alarm is installed on each storey of the house on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation and shall keep each such alarm in proper working order. For the purpose of this paragraph, bathrooms and lavatories are to be treated as a room used as living accommodation.*
8. The licence holder shall supply a declaration as to the condition and position of any smoke alarms/detectors in the property within 7 days of the Council’s demand.
Emergency Escape Lighting
9. The licence holder shall ensure that any emergency escape lighting in the house is kept in proper working order at all times.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
10. The licence holder shall ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room in the house which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. Any such alarm must be kept in proper working order. For the purposes of this paragraph, bathrooms, lavatories, halls and landings are all treated as rooms used as living accommodation.*
11. The licence holder shall supply a declaration as to the condition and position of any carbon monoxide alarms in the property within 7 days of the Council’s demand.*
12. The licence holder must ensure that all reasonable and practical steps are taken to respond to repair and maintenance issues at their property and that any works to deal with repairs are undertaken within a reasonable period of time after they are notified, and within the timescales notified to occupiers under condition 20.
13. The licence holder must ensure that the property is kept in repair and that the exterior of the property, its gardens, yards and other external areas are kept in a clean and tidy condition.
14. The licence holder shall make sure that adequate security arrangements are in place and take reasonable steps to achieve property security by complying with the requirements of paragraphs a) to f) below:
a) So far as reasonably possible, any emergency works necessary to protect the security of the property are undertaken within 24 hours of notification e.g. damage to windows/entrance points to the property.
b) The security provisions for access to the property (locks, latches, deadbolts and entry systems etc.) are maintained in good working order at all times.
c) Where window locks are fitted, window keys are provided to the occupant(s) of the property.
d) Where a burglar alarm is fitted to the house, the occupant(s) is (are) made aware of the code, how the alarm is operated and the circumstances under which the code for the alarm can be changed.
e) Where previous occupiers have not surrendered keys, arranging for a lock change to be undertaken, prior to new occupiers moving in.
f) Where alley gates are installed to the side or rear of the licensed property, taking responsibility for holding a key and making satisfactory arrangements for the occupiers’ access and egress.
Dealing with rubbish
15. The licence holder shall, at the beginning of a tenancy, provide written information to the occupiers of the property indicating:
- which day refuse collections will take place;
- what type of bins to use for household and recycling waste;
- details of the Council’s bulky waste collection service;
- the occupiers’ responsibility to put bins out no earlier than 4pm on the day before collection and to return refuse containers within the boundary of the property by 8am the day after the collection;
- that occupiers should make arrangements for any extra rubbish that cannot fit in the bins to be collected and/or disposed of as soon as is reasonably possible and ensure that such rubbish, where possible, is stored at the rear of and within the boundary of the property until collection/disposal;
16. The licence holder shall ensure so far as is reasonably possible that the occupiers make arrangements for the collection of waste in accordance with these provisions and, when the property is unoccupied, adhere to these provisions themselves.
17. The licence holder shall ensure that suitable and adequate provision for refuse storage and collection is provided at the house. This shall include a closable bin(s) of suitable capacity as specified by the Council.
18. The licence holder must ensure that the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of the property is respected. The licence holder must ensure that the tenant receives at least 24 hours’ written notice of their intention to enter the property, specifying the reason why entry is required. The only exception is when it would not be reasonable to give such notice and access is required urgently, e.g. in an emergency.
19. The licence holder shall ensure that inspections of the property are carried out at least every six (6) months to identify any problems relating to the condition and management of the property. The records of such inspections shall be kept for the duration of this licence. As a minimum requirement, the records must contain a log of who carried out the inspection, the date and the time of inspection and any issues found and action(s) taken. Copies of these records must be provided within 7 days of the Council’s demand.
20. At the beginning of a new tenancy, the licence holder must provide the occupier(s) with written information, including contact details, explaining how they can make a complaint about the property and the arrangements in place to deal with emergency and other repairs. The contact and telephone number details should enable contact between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, and should also include an out of hours contact number for use in emergencies, which could include a number with a regularly accessed voicemail facility. Any change in contact and/or telephone number details should be provided to occupiers within 24 hours of the changes being made. Copies of the written information provided to tenants must be provided within 7 days of the Council’s demand.
21. Where an occupier makes a complaint the licence holder shall indicate to the occupier(s) in writing how they intend to respond to the complaint including a timescale for the steps they intend to take.
22. The licence holder shall respond to any complaint in writing within a reasonable timescale. Copies of all correspondence relating to complaints shall be retained during the term of this licence and shall be provided to the Council within 7 days of the Council’s demand.
23. The licence holder must provide the tenant with an information pack containing the following details:
a) A copy of the licence to which these conditions apply.
b) A notice with the name, address, day time and emergency contact number of the licence holder or managing agent.
c) Where appropriate, copies of the current gas, electrical safety and energy performance certificates.
d) The information required by conditions 15, 20 and 24.
24. The licence holder shall supply to the occupiers of the house a written statement of the terms on which they occupy it (eg a tenancy agreement or licence). This statement shall be provided within 7 days of the occupancy beginning and the licence holder shall supply a copy of the written statement within 7 days of the Council’s demand. *
The written statement shall be clear about tenants’ responsibility for not causing anti-social behaviour and that breach of the statement’s requirements may lead to eviction.
25. The licence holder shall comply with all relevant landlord and tenant law and shall ensure that all legal processes are followed when requiring occupiers to leave.
26. The licence holder shall demand references for new occupiers before entering into any occupancy agreement with them or allowing them to occupy the premises. Where obtained, copies of these references shall be kept for the duration of this licence and made available to the Council within 7 days of the Council’s demand.*
27. The licence holder shall ensure there is suitable and sufficient landlord buildings insurance in place for the duration of this licence.
28. Where a deposit is taken, the licence holder must provide the tenant with relevant information about the deposit scheme to which it relates and any other information required under section 213 of the Housing Act 2004. This information must be provided to the Council within 7 days of the Council’s demand.
Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour
29. The licence holder shall ensure that all reasonable and practical steps are taken to prevent or reduce anti-social behaviour by the occupants of and visitors to the house. In particular:-
a) The licence holder shall put in place written procedures indicating how complaints made to the licence holder will be dealt with, a copy of which shall be provided to the occupiers upon commencement of their occupation and to the Council within 7 days of the Council’s demand.
b) Where complaints of ASB or criminality are made to the licence holder, the licence holder shall investigate them and take action to resolve them. Copies of the complaint shall be kept together with notes arising during the course of the investigation and how the matter was resolved; and the licence holder must keep them for the duration of this licence. Where the licence holder has reason to believe that criminal activity is taking place at the property, the licence holder must ensure that the appropriate authorities are informed.
c) There may be instances where anti-social behaviour occurs more than once, but not continuously and possibly intermittently over several months. In such circumstances the licence holder shall take all reasonable and practical steps to ensure that it is effectively dealt with, up to and including eviction.
Change of Details or Circumstances
33. The licence holder must inform the Council within 21 days of any material change in circumstances including:
(a) change of their address;
(b) change of manager, management arrangements or ownership;
(c) any changes to their, the manager’s or any associate’s circumstances which could affect their fit and proper person status, i.e. any cautions or convictions for any offence involving fraud, dishonesty, violence, drugs, sexual offences (under Sexual Offences Act, schedule 3) discrimination or breach of housing or landlord / tenant law or convicted of a banning order offence or issued with a banning order;
(d) any proposed changes to the layout of the house that would affect the licence or licence conditions.
31. Licence holders who are accredited by a body approved by the Council shall ensure that accreditation status and / or membership of that body is maintained for the duration of this licence.
Licence Holder Training
35. Where the licence holder has not attended relevant training in the previous 3 years, they must as a minimum attend suitable training on the law and legal requirements relating to managing privately rented housing within 12 months of the date the licence is granted. This requirement can be satisfied in one of the following ways:
(a) by attending a one-day training course arranged and delivered by the Council or our accreditation partner DASH Services and submitting a certificate to the Council following this training. Visit www.dashservices.org.uk or call 01332 641111 to arrange this;
(b) by completion of training covering law and legal requirements relating to managing privately rented housing provided by the National Landlords Association (NLA), Residential Landlords Association (RLA), National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) or East Midlands Property Owners (EMPO) and submitting the pass certificates to the Council for confirmation;
NB Full details of these training courses are coming soon.
33. Where reports, certificates, declarations or other documents are required to be produced or supplied to the Council, this shall mean sending by submitting them via the online portal.
34. Any reference to tenant or tenancy can also be interpreted to include occupancy by licence or other form of written agreement for the purposes of these conditions.
35. Where electrical works / certificates are required they shall be carried out by a suitably qualified electrical contractor who should be registered / member of an approved scheme such as NICEIC, ECA, NAPIT etc. or registered to undertake electrical works in accordance with Part P of the Building Regulations (unless exempt works). Electrical contractors that are on a relevant competent person scheme can be found at competentperson.co.uk
Failure to comply with any licence conditions may result in legal proceedings including, civil penalty or prosecution through the courts and loss of the licence.
These do not form part of the licence conditions, but you may still be under an obligation to comply with this legislation
If gas is supplied to the house the licence holder shall ensure the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (or any Regulations which subsequently replace these) are complied with.
The licence holder shall ensure that the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 (or any Regulations which subsequently replace these) are complied with.
Smoke Alarms/Fire Detection Systems
Depending on the size, layout and occupancy of the property the licence holder may need to go over and above the legal minimum required in legislation to adequately protect the tenants from fire. When doing this the licence holder should have regard to the current Building Regulations; another useful guide is the LACORS Fire Safety Guide. The LACORS Fire Safety guidance is available at www.nottinghamCity.gov.uk/environmental-health-and-safer-housing/private-sector-housing/
Emergency Escape Lighting
The licence holder should have regard to the current Building Regulations covering emergency escape lighting. Another useful guide is the LACORS Fire Safety Guidance. This guidance is available at www.nottinghamCity.gov.uk/environmental-health-and-safer-housing/private-sector-housing/
The licence holder shall ensure that the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (or any Regulations which subsequently replace these) in respect of any upholstered furniture supplied by them, including chairs, sofas, beds, upholstered head boards, mattresses, cushions, seat pads, pillows and upholstered garden furniture etc. are complied with.
Safety and Security of Property
It is recommended that licence holders work towards improving the safety and security of their property by as a minimum complying with the Security and Standards of HMO and Rented Properties guide issued jointly by Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham City Council, available at www.nottinghamCity.gov.uk/HMO.
More information on dealing with waste can be found at www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/bin-and-rubbish-collections/