A new licensing scheme for landlords, which aims to continue to improve standards in Nottingham’s private rented sector, could take a step forward next week when it goes to Nottingham City Council’s Executive Board for approval to go to consultation (Tuesday 21 February).

The council wants to hear views on proposals to introduce a new five-year Additional HMO Licensing Scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (or shared houses). The current scheme will soon come to an end and the City Council is now looking to consult on a new citywide scheme, which would run for a further five years from January 2024 if approved.

Additional Licensing is a scheme that applies to privately rented Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) or shared houses and requires landlords to have a licence for rented properties where either three or four people, who are not related, live together and share facilities like bathrooms and kitchens.

The scheme aims to:

  • Help support landlords to make sure their properties meet appropriate standards for tenants
  • Protect the health, safety and wellbeing of tenants and communities by ensuring safe, well-managed properties
  • Help inform tenants of what to expect from their landlord and what is expected of them as a tenant, through better communication and management of properties
  • Provide increased powers to inspect properties which otherwise would not be inspected unless a complaint had been received.

The current Additional HMO Licensing Scheme has had a positive impact on problems associated with HMOs since its introduction in 2019, such as inadequate gas, electrical and fire safety, overcrowding and insufficient facilities, poor internal and external property conditions as well as anti-social behaviour like noise nuisance and insufficient waste management. If approved, a new scheme would help continue and build on these positive outcomes.  

As with all housing licensing schemes, the council cannot make a profit from the scheme and licence fees will be used for the operating costs, compliance and enforcement.

Councillor Toby Neal, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Human Resources, said: “This housing licensing scheme, along with others, is a major part of our plans to improve all types of private rented housing in the city.

“We believe people renting privately have a right to expect a decent standard of accommodation, which is safe, well managed and maintained. Poor housing conditions and poor property management can have a serious impact on people’s health and wellbeing, as well causing 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 City Council would urge all residents, tenants, landlords and letting agents to have their say on the proposals. If approved by the council’s Executive Board next week, a consultation would begin on 1 March and run until 24 May.