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Nottingham City Council introduces new 'selective licensing' scheme for landlords

9 March 2018

The Nottingham City Council became the latest authority to introduce new licensing requirements for all private residential landlords. As of 1 August 2018, all landlords must formally apply for a 5-year licence to allow them to let their properties to tenants. The purpose of this legislation is to “raise the standards in the privately rented sector (PRS) of housing, and to ensure that all tenants living in them are able to enjoy a safe, comfortable and well managed home.”

Amongst the requirements for being issued a licence is the need to show that the proposed licensee is a ‘fit and proper person’, and one who is competent to manage the property. Compulsory training will also be a requirement for licence holders. The Council has the authority to refuse to issue a licence to those who they consider do not meet these requirements, and operating without a licence can result in prosecution and fines of up to £30,000 for each individual. The Council has confirmed, however, that registered social landlords (such as housing associations) will be exempt from these requirements. In terms of fees, the proposed cost for a licence is £780 for each individual property, however this is reduced to £520 per property for landlords who are accredited via the DASH scheme or Unipol.

These changes are a further result of the increased regulation and reforms being introduced across the property industry. The successful implementation of this scheme in Nottingham is likely to result in similar schemes being adopted across other local authorities nation-wide. To prepare against this future change, property professionals should take steps to update all landlord clients about the future possibility of their need to obtain selective licences, and to ensure that they are kept fully aware of their existing legal duties and obligations, as a failure to adhere to existing legislation could result in any future licence applications being dismissed. 

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