In recent years we have seen a steady increase in local authorities
exercising their right to put into effect the selective licensing scheme to regulate the private rented sector.
Croydon and Greater London are one of these local authorities and landlords of all privately rented properties are required to apply for a property licence.
It is the responsibility of the landlord to know if licensing is required for their property and what the requirements are. There are specific criteria and standards set out in the scheme’s rules and regulations that must be adhered to.
What is the reason for the scheme?
The scheme was introduced with the intention of weeding out unscrupulous landlords and to improve the standards of which properties are being managed.
Who can apply?
Anyone who wants to be a landlord and rent out their property can apply.
The best person to apply would be the owner of the property or a manager employed by the owner. It must be the person in control of the property, who will receive the rent and handle all aspects of the rental.
It is important to note that the licence is not transferable from person to person. If an agent has been tasked with managing a property and the service is terminated a new licence must be applied for as mentioned the licence is not transferable.
How will this be done?
Landlords will be screened and verified to be ‘fit and proper’ or should they employ an agent to manage their property, the agent will also be screened
Landlords and managing agents will be required to operate at the same level of professional standards
Registered properties can expect to be inspected by a local authority officer at least once within the first 5 years of the scheme
Adequate property ad tenancy management arrangements should be in place and will be reviewed
The tenant’s health, welfare, safeguarding, health and safety will be prioritised
Anti-social behaviour will be dealt with effectively
The accommodation must be suitable for the number of occupants
What is the application process?
The first step is to check with your local council or authority to determine if your area requires you to be in possession of a landlord licence before you lease out your property.
If landlords fail to comply with the prescribed licence requirement and rent without the correct licence the council can prosecute. The landlord would be subject to an unlimited fine or financial penalty up to £30,000. The council may enforce a Rent Repayment Order (RRO) for up to 12 months’ rent.
How to prove that you as the landlord are a ‘fit and proper’ person?
Have a registered address in the UK
Declare any criminal offences
Prove that you have an acceptable management and financial arrangement in place for every individual rented property
The council will take into consideration any offences, unlawful discrimination and contravention of any law relating to housing or landlord and tenant law
What is the cost of a licence?
The cost of a licence is set by the local authority and ranges from £200 (Liverpool) to £1,000 (Bristol).
It is best to check with your local authority to confirm the rates.
Licences are usually valid for five years.
Are any properties exempt?
It is important to understand what the landlords are responsible for. Some properties are exempt from the selective licensing scheme, they include:
Student premises where the university is the manager or landlord
Premises where the tenant is a family member
Should I use an agent to manage my property?
If you want peace of mind, why not let your managing agent handle your property, with the licensing scheme, each property is subject to regular inspections conducted by the local authority. These inspections can be incredibly time consuming and tedious for compliant landlords. Aston Pearl is a licensed guaranteed scheme holder.
Your managing agent could oversee all health and safety inspections on your behalf and ensure that you secure the correct certification required for your licence. At Aston Pearl we will handle all your maintenance issues with your property and do regular property inspections of your rental property to ensure your property is properly occupied and maintained.