Government to review select licensing as number of schemes passes 550 mark

Housing ministry says it wants to find out how they are being used by councils, and if they working some 12 years after the first ones were introduced.

selective licensing

One of the UK’s most controversial private rental market policies, select licensing, is to be reviewed, the government has announced as the number of schemes in the UK tops 550.

These geograpically-specific schemes require landlords to apply for a licence if they want to rent out a property, mainly so that their local council can ensure they are ‘fit and proper’.

The government’s review will be a chance for landlords and their agents, who often dislike the extra costs and red tape selective licensing schemes create, to make their voices heard.

For agents, managing properties within or near selective licensing scheme zones is often a challenge because both their shifting local coverage and changing requirements can make them difficult to comply with.

Licences usually cost approximately £500 per property, although they can be as high as £2,500 for HMOs.

In October The Neg reported that there were 30 selective licensing schemes in London, a further 500 being operated outside the capital and at least 25 new ones in consultation, although this figures has now believed to have surpassed 550.

The government says it wants to find out how selective licensing is being used and how well the schemes are working.

A review by a panel of independent commissioners will gather evidence from local authorities who operate selective licensing schemes as well as the official organisations who represent landlords, tenants and housing professionals.

Some councils are keener than others and for example the London Borough of Brent announced in February that it had so far fined landlords £63,500 within its two selective licensing scheme areas.

The government says it will report back on the review in Spring 2019.

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