Application process for selective licensing
- Complete the online application form. Please read the guide before making the application so you have the information ready, although you can save the application. You will be able to pay the stage one fee at the same time as making the application.
- Once submitted on the online system, your application will be processed and the relevant checks will be completed. Where the application has been made on behalf of someone else, we will write to named licence holder to require them to reivew and counter-sign the application using a web link. It is only when the licence holder has counter-signed the application that the application is considered “duly made” and we can start to process the licence. Failure to counter-sign within the specified time period will lead to the application being withdrawn. At this point, a new application must be made and a new fee will be required
- A draft Selective Licence will then be sent (this is called an “intention notice”). At this point, the stage two fee must be paid. Any eligible discount will be applied to the stage two fee.
- You can also make comments about the proposed conditions (these are called “representations”). There will be 21 days to pay the stage two fee and make the representations.
- Any representations are considered and if needed, changes made to the licence.
- The actual licence is then issued. Licences will be issued for five years from the date of issue, not from the start of the scheme.
- The property will be prioritised for inspection.
- If you disagree with the licence conditions, you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal within 28 days of receiving the actual licence.
Process Times and Tacit Consent
- We expect it could take up to 12 months to process and issue Selective Licence applications. We will work on a first received, first processed basis.
- Tacit consent will not apply because the council must ensure that the licence holder and manager are “Fit and Proper Persons” and the house falls under the Selective Licensing scheme.
To qualify for the early bird and accreditation discounts, the Council requires all relevant safety certificates to be sent with the application. Providing the certificates with the application will help keep our costs low as it avoids a follow-up request and allows us to offer the discounts. Not supplying certificates will prioritise the property for inspection.
The certificates needed are:
- Gas Safety certificate, if gas installations provided by the landlord in the property. This is an annual certificate required by the The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
- Electrical Installation Inspection and Testing Report also known as Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). From 1 April 2020 under The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 , private landlords have been required to ensure the electrical installation in the residential premises is inspected and tested at regular intervals by a qualified person with an inspection interval of no more than 5 years.
- Energy Performance Certificate, at Band E or above unless:
- There is a Registered Exemption for EPC regulations; or
- The property is exempt from the requirement to have an EPC e.g. the property does not require an up-to-date EPC as the previous certificate was valid when the current tenants moved into the property. In this event, signed tenancy agreements would be required.
Licence / property minimum standards
There are no national minimum licence / property standards for Selective Licensing (unlike HMO licensing which sets standards on minimum bedroom sizes, bathroom and kitchen facilities and fire precautions). However, there are a number of existing legal requirements that apply:
- Gas, electrical and EPC certificates as described above;
- A working smoke alarm on each storey where one or more rooms are used as living accommodation, as required by the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. The alarm must be checked at the start of each tenancy to ensure it is in working order. If the alarm is not working, action must be taken to ensure the alarm is in working order;
- If a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. coal fire / wood burner) is in the property, then a Carbon Monoxide Alarm is required by the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015;
- Any furnishings supplied as part of the tenancy must be compliant with the Furnishings and Fire Safety Regulations;
- Properties must be free from Category One hazards under the Housing Act 2004 Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
Further information and guidance will be developed for landlords.
All Selective Licences include conditions specified in the Housing Act 2004. The Council can add “discretionary” conditions that relate to the management, use and occupation of the property. The Selective Licensing consulted included the proposed conditions. The Council approved the conditions in the March 2021 designations. The licence conditions formed part of the submission to the Secretary of State.
The Council will not inspect selective licence properties before issuing the licence. The property will be prioritised for inspection based on risk e.g. known poor history / complaints from tenants or failure to send certificates with application will lead to a higher priority while properties managed by accredited property owners/agents will have a lower priority.
For accredited agents with large portfolios, a number of properties will be inspected and audited each year.
Inspections will check that the property is free from Category One hazards and meets other legal requirements that apply to rented homes as described above.
If Category One hazards or higher level Category Two hazards are found, the Council will take further action to remove / reduce the hazards to an acceptable level. The Council may serve an Improvement Notice, for which there is a charge.
An inspection form will be developed to help landlords identify hazards in the property.
Enforcement and consequences of failing to licence a property
Managing or controlling a property that is required to be licensed and is not so licensed is an offence under the Housing Act 2004. The consequences are:
- Unlimited fine at Court or the Council can issue a financial penalty of up to £30,000
- Occupants can apply for a rent repayment, from the date the scheme commenced (01 September 2022) and for no more than 12 months and up to the date the application was duly made.
- Restriction on serving a s21 notice until an application has been duly made
- From 1 September 2023, the higher fee will be the default charge unless the person can prove the property began operating as a rental home within 12 weeks of the application date.