Cabinet members at Sheffield City Council have formally approved a Selective Licensing scheme for an area of the city to come into force on 1st November, with a £30,000 civil penalty or prosecution if landlords fail to apply for a licence.
The Council ran a consultation from November 2017 to February 2018 asking for views on introducing a licensing designation area covering London, Abbeydale and Chesterfield Road, totalling 668 properties.
The cost of a licence will be £750, divided in to a 2-stage payment system and will run for five years until 1st October 2023.
As part of the reasons to approve, the Cabinet referenced their statutory duty to address hazards in private rented properties, and whilst they acknowledge that most landlords in Sheffield are good, Selective Licensing was proposed “because the problems uncovered in this area are too widespread and significant to be dealt with on an individual property/landlord basis”.
What is Selective Licensing?
Selective Licensing is a discretionary power, introduced in the Housing Act 2004. It imposes a legal requirement for all residential landlords in a designated area to apply for a licence for each residential property they rent out in that area. The Council are able to impose conditions to the licence that will improve property and management standards for a certain area.
As part of the application process for the licence, landlords will have to show that they are a ‘Fit and Proper’ person, examples including having criminal convictions which may affect their management of the property, and that they have satisfactory management arrangements in place to deal with repair and maintenance issues, and with tenancy problems such as rent arrears and anti-social behaviour.
It has been advised that all landlords and managing agents should obtain advice to ascertain whether their property is affected by the designation by contacting the Council’s Private Housing Standards Team