A new licensing scheme has been set up for private rental properties in Nottingham in a bid to drive up standards. Nottingham City Council has set up the selective licensing scheme to cover around 32,000 private rental homes across most parts of the city. The aim is to improve conditions for tenants, so that they can live in better quality properties and have more protection from rogue or bad tenants. Tenants will know what their landlord should be providing in terms of maintaining and managing their home. The council is introducing the scheme in districts where it has found evidence of poor conditions.
About 21% of privately rented properties in Nottingham were found to have Category 1 hazards, according to a Building Research Establishment Group report in 2016. These are the most severe hazards, including exposing wiring, cold bedrooms, leaking roofs, mould on the walls, vermin infestation and dangerous boilers. With selective licensing in place, these problems can be addressed. That is because landlords with properties which fall under the scheme will have to meet certain conditions and ensure their homes are well managed.
Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing & Heritage, Councillor Jane Urquhart, said that the licence will enable landlords to prove they are able to provide good quality accommodation for their tenants. Tenants have a right to live in safe, well-maintained and well-managed rental homes. The council is going to work with landlords to help them meet the conditions of the landlords’ licence. The councillor went on to say that the local authority believes this will improve the reputation of buy-to-let landlords, as well as the city’s reputation for providing good quality housing.
Landlords who have the Nottingham Standard Accreditation or who applied for accreditation before the licensing scheme was set up will be able to apply for the licences at a reduced cost. It is a legal requirement to have a licence in the designated area and landlords are being urged to check if they need one for their properties. It is a significant saving for accredited landlords who will pay £480 for a licence, while others will pay £780. The income from the fees will be used to set up and operate the scheme. It is pointed out that the council is not allowed to profit from the scheme. Landlords can be fined as much as £30,000 if they are found to be renting properties in a designated area without a licence or they can be prosecuted through the court system. If they don’t comply, tenants can apply to claim their rent back.
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