A housing licensing scheme in Nottingham is continuing to protect tenants and make sure they live in good quality private rented housing.
The ambitious Selective Licensing scheme has reached its half way point and seen some key achievements over its first few years. It was one of the largest schemes of its kind in the country and started in August 2018 and is due to run to July 2023. It was brought in to help improve standards of renting in Nottingham, under the council’s vision of ‘Quality Housing for all.’
The Selective Licensing scheme covers an estimated 32,000 privately rented homes across most areas of the city.
The licence shows tenants that their property meets safety and quality standards set out in the conditions of the licence. It means tenants have better quality accommodation and they know what to expect from their landlord in terms of the maintenance, safety and management of their home.
As well as issuing licences, the team also carries out a number of compliance and enforcement activity as part of the scheme and sometimes they have to take enforcement action against landlords who fail to license and fail to engage with te council to make sure their properties are up to standard.
*Some keep success of the scheme are:
- Over 600 properties inspected, over 270 improved through pre-licensing inspections (before March 2020, national lockdown)
- Over 1100 external inspections of licensed properties during Covid-19 restrictions in 2020/21
- 53 Civil penalties issued, 37 of which relate to Selective Licensing
- 13 Landlords prosecuted for 49 offences at 30 properties (27 of these offences relate to Selective Licensing)
- Over 1700 hazards in houses identified by our accreditation partners
- Reduction of the number of privately rented homes with Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) energy rating below ‘D’
- 70.9% of all properties in Nottingham have an EPC (March 2020). This is the highest of all Core Cities.
Most landlords in the city are good landlords, or maintain their homes to a good standard. Many of these landlords are accredited through partner’s like
DASH, Unipol and ANUK, creating the ‘Nottingham Standard.’ The “Nottingham Standard” is an accreditation mark for landlords that guarantees a minimum standard for privately rented housing across the city and under this, partners inspect accredited properties themselves, which allows the council to offer landlords a reduced licensing fee.
During these inspections a combined total of 1,778 hazards have been identified by DASH and Unipol, including issues with fire or electrical safety, excess cold, damp and mould and in some cases all of the above.
One of the key successes of the scheme is liaising with landlords to understand their needs and what support they want. The team has held over 35 events, with over 900 attendees, including offering support for older landlords and landlords with English as a second language
As part of the scheme, and following feedback from landlords, two separate Landlord and Managing Agents forums were also set up, so that all parties could work together. These gave landlords and agents the chance to shape services, offer feedback on current services and look at new ways of working.
Cllr Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage, said: “We’ve had a successful few years since the start of the Selective Licencing scheme, seeing some real achievements and helping renters in the city live in good quality properties.
“We know that most landlords are good landlords and we will continue to support them but there are still a small number who don’t look after their properties as they should. Our inspections are weeding out these landlords who let down the rest.
“We are carrying out more compliance checks than ever, especial now that Covid-19 restrictions have eased. We not only investigate properties for hazards, but we are checking they are meeting the requirements of their licence and we also check if a property has the correct licence.
“We will continue to work with accreditation partners and make sure licenced properties in the city are up to a good standard and I look forward to seeing further success in the scheme over the next few years”
*These figures are correct as of 31 March 2021, which is a little past the half way point of the scheme. Figures will have changed.