for rent

02 May 23

Leicester City Council has implemented a selective licensing scheme that requires all private rented properties across designated areas in Leicester to be licenced. Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 gives local authorities the power to introduce selective licensing for privately rented properties within a designated area. This is to protect those most vulnerable and improve the standards of the private sector.

The three main cluster areas of Leicester affected by this have a high proportion of such properties and will require a selective licence.

1)Westcotes, Fosse, Braunstone Park and Rowley Fields wards (West Cluster)

2)Stoneygate (East Cluster)

3)Saffron wards (South Cluster)

The involvement of selective licencing in the private rented sector

Licensing of private rented properties involves landlords obtaining a licence for the property they are renting out. (Unless certain exemptions in law apply) The licence attracts a fee and is obtained through an application to the local authority. If the application is successful, a licence is provided that contains conditions that the landlord must ensure are complied with. These relate to gas and electrical safety, installation of smoke, fire and carbon monoxide alarms are adequately dealt with. But also, where relevant, other matters such as measures to repair and maintain the property, tenancy management and help prevent anti-social behaviour are required.

Once these conditions are met, the Council will then issue a licence. In the event of not satisfying the conditions, the Council may impose extra conditions on the licence or refuse the licence completely.

Penalties for not having a licence

There could be an unlimited fine on prosecution; or a civil penalty of up to £30,000 per offence as an alternative to prosecution. The landlord may not then be ’fit and proper’ to hold any other Housing Act licenses. There could also follow a rent repayment order of up to 12 months’ rent.

Criteria for landlords to meet

Landlords applying for a licence will need to undergo and ‘fit and proper’ check to deem their suitability. This includes:

  • Any unspent housing convictions, offenses involving fraud, violence or drugs
  • Any offence listed in the Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • Any unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sex, colour, race, ethnic or disability in connection with the carrying out of any business.
Fees

The selective licencing scheme will be in place from October 2022 and will run initially for five years. The licence will cost £1,090 and the fee is split into two parts. Part A fee – covers the application processing costs such as validating the forms, background checks, inspection of property, fit and proper assessment. Part B fee – covers the final licence to include maintaining the public register, handling complaint and compliance checks to the property.

Various discounts will however be available including for early applications, charitable organisations, properties with good energy efficiency and landlords with multiple properties.

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