How does Selective Licensing work?

Selective licensing is a licensing program that calls for all private landlords doing business in a particular region to obtain a license for any privately rented homes there. Part 3, Section 80 of the Housing Act of 2004 established selective licensing. The designation is valid for five years and is subject to specific and legislative requirements that guarantee the security, compliance, and effective management of the licensed premises. Landlords must apply for a license if they wish to rent a property in regions where selective licensing is in effect. This implies that in addition to imposing other requirements about property management and suitable safety measures, the council can determine if they are a “fit or proper person” to be a landlord.

According to experts including Harrow letting agents, many normally law-abiding landlords are breaching the law by not having a license because they are unaware they are operating in a particular licensing region.

The landlord or managing agent would need to pay a charge and satisfy requirements that would impact how the property is handled.

In regions where one or more of the following problems exist, we could implement selective licensing:

  • Houses with little demand—few people want to live there—severe and ongoing issues with antisocial behaviour, residences in poor condition, and tenants who only rent them temporarily.
  • A scarcity of essentials
  • High crime rates.

How should landlords act?

Your council will have an application form to submit if you learn that you are in a selective licensing area. The cost of this may differ. The council could request copies of safety certifications, information about your tenants and rental agreements, the placement of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and copies of safety certificates.

When another person must hold the license, as can be the case if the landlord is overseas, the council will verify that the applicant is the most qualified and actively involved in the property’s daily management. A permit is valid for five years.

Differentiating selective licensing from other types of licensing, how?

Even if they are not in a region with particular licensing, several categories of property nevertheless need a license. These include sizable HMOs (houses of multiple occupancies, where several unrelated tenants coexist) that meet specific requirements. According to the region, smaller HMOs could also need a license, so check with the local council. You do not require a selective license if you require an obligatory HMO license.

Who may apply?

The license application and fee are the landlord’s responsibility. However, Harrow letting agents are required by law to make sure that all the properties in their portfolio have the appropriate licenses.

To ensure that property under their supervision complies with local licensing laws, rental agencies and landlords should cooperate.

What conditions must be met to obtain a selective license?

You must be found qualified by the council for the following:

  • Proficiency in property management
  • Your management structures’ appropriateness
  • When applying for a selective license, you must tell “Relevant Persons” (these may cover people such as your mortgage provider, freeholder, insurers, managing agents, etc.)
  • You must certify that your property conforms to all applicable laws, rules, and health and safety requirements.

How can I submit a request for a selective license?

Although it is feasible to handle the application procedure independently, we do not recommend it due to the numerous dangers. If you decide to apply independently, you must be aware of all the requirements, including your council’s unique selective licensing criteria and the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, before applying for a license.

Please be aware that if you accept the conditions of a selective license (which most landlords do without examining them), you are responsible for committing a crime if you violate any of the conditions at any time while the license is in effect.

Wrapping Up 

Landlord Licensing & Defence provides a comprehensive hand-holding service for landlords, including compliance inspections, license application preparation and submission, progress, and fighting against onerous license restrictions on your behalf in opposition to the draft license. Even though only certain local authorities use selective licensing, landlords everywhere must be aware of the industry-specific health and safety laws. If unsure, get expert advice.

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