Nottingham City Council will apply to the Government to give the go-ahead for a new licensing scheme which will improve standards for local private tenants, after councillors approved the move.
The proposals aim to introduce a second scheme of Selective Licensing and would require private landlords who rent out properties in certain parts of the city to obtain a licence, demonstrating that they and their properties meet required standards.
The City Council’s Executive Board met today (January 17) to discuss the new scheme, which would enable the council to continue the important work it has already been carrying out as part of the current scheme; to make sure that privately rented homes are safer, suitable for tenants to live in and that they are managed effectively. It will give the council resource and powers to safeguard tenants and hold non-compliant landlords to account.
The new scheme would cover a slightly smaller area in the city than the current one does, but would include some areas, such as parts of Broxtowe and The Park not covered by the current housing scheme. The council believes a new scheme should be considered, based on:
- Significant or persistent problems caused by anti-social behaviour
- Poor property conditions
- High levels of deprivation
- High levels of crime.
Councillors at Executive Board gave their go-ahead for the council to apply to the Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) for final approval and confirmation of the scheme.
If approved by Government, a second scheme would help the council to not only support landlords in making sure that their properties meet certain standards, but also help to improve and tackle key issues, as well as supporting the overall health and wellbeing of tenants due to improved housing conditions.
As with the first five-year scheme, which was introduced in the city in 2018, the council would not be allowed to make any surplus revenue from the scheme and all revenue from the licence fees would only be used to cover the cost of administering and running the new scheme.
Nottingham City Council does not believe landlords will need to increase tenants’ rent to cover the cost of a licence application, which would be payable in two parts. Most landlords in the city, who already have a housing licence, would be aware of licensing, so a new licence should be factored into their business plan and any previous increase in rents that they may have made, should cover a new licence fee. A new scheme would not start until at least August 2023, so this would also give landlords time to plan.
Councillor Toby Neal, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Human Resources, said: “People renting privately have a right to expect a decent standard of accommodation. Many of the 45,000 plus privately rented properties in the city are well-managed but, as part of the first scheme we still find properties that are to a very poor standard. Homes with damp and mould, homes with no smoke alarms or hot water or heating; so there is more work to be done.
“It is proven that poorly managed properties cause problems for local neighbourhoods that see higher crime and anti-social behaviour rates. The council believes the introduction of a new licensing scheme would not only bring benefits for tenants and local communities, but also landlords who, by obtaining a licence, will be able to clearly demonstrate to prospective tenants that they meet required standards.
“The first scheme was welcomed by residents, who appreciated that improving the safety and quality of private rented accommodation, can have a positive impact on local neighbourhoods.”
If the scheme is approved by Government, the council is looking to implement it this August, the Executive Board meeting was told.