A new licensing scheme aimed at improving housing standards in Nottingham’s private rented sector has moved a step closer after being given the go ahead by City Councillors.
The Council’s Executive Board has now approved a revised Selective Licensing scheme which includes some changes to the original proposal following an extensive 11-week consultation earlier this year which sought the views of tenants, landlords, letting agents and local people generally.
The scheme will now be submitted to the Secretary of State for approval, a legislative requirement, with the aim of introducing it from April 2018.
It will be self funding with the cost – £20.96 million over the five years – covered by income from licence fees.
A key change to the original proposal is that the revised scheme no longer covers the whole of the city but focuses on those areas containing a high proportion of private rented sector properties. The proposal now covers approximately 3,700 fewer properties in the city.
There has also been a 13% reduction in the proposed cost of the licence for those landlords who already have accreditation, from £460 down to £400. This would mean the cost of a licence for accredited landlords would reduce to £1.54 a week over the five years of the scheme. The cost of a licence for non-accredited landlords is now proposed to be £655.
Accreditation can currently be obtained by landlords at no cost via the DASH scheme – https://www.dashservices.org.uk/ . Unipol also offers a scheme via https://www.unipol.org.uk/the-code . Both schemes provide accreditation for up to three years.
The City Council received 1443 complaints about private rented sector housing last year including licensable and non-licensable Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
Councillor Jane Urquhart, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing & Heritage, said: “The introduction of a licensing scheme for private landlords was a key commitment made in our Council Plan. The majority of private tenants who responded to the consultation were in favour of a scheme.
“We have listened carefully to the issues raised in the consultation and made changes to the proposed scheme without losing focus on the improvements it sets to achieve in the overall standard of private rented housing in the city.
“Reducing the cost of the licence for landlords who have accreditation creates even more of an incentive for landlords to obtain it to demonstrate that they meet the required standards so we would encourage them to make an application now via DASH or Unipol.”