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Selective licensing FAQs


Selective licensing gives local councils, like us, powers to regulate landlords and managing agents of private rented property in certain areas. These areas tend to suffer from low housing demand and/or high levels of anti-social behaviour.

How are selective licensing areas decided?

Selective licensing areas are set up following consultation with landlords, tenants and residents' associations.

How long does a selective licence last?

A licence lasts for up to five years from the date the selective licensing area is appointed.

Is a selective licence transferable to another property?

No, a selective licence is non-transferable.

What happens in other local authority areas?

Each local authority is responsible for determining and issuing licences for selective licensing areas in their jurisdiction. If you have properties in more than one local authority area, you will need to apply to the relevant authority the property is in.

Are there any exemptions to selective licensing?

Yes, the following are exempt:

  • Local Housing Authorities or Registered Social Landlords (Housing Associations) tenancies
  • holiday lets
  • where a family member rents the property from you (proof required) 
  • long lease tenancies (21 years) 
  • business tenancies
  • properties where the council has taken action to close the property down 
  • licensable HMO's (Houses in Multiple Occupation) under part 2 of the housing act 2004 
  • where temporary exemption notices are in force.

What happens if the landlord decides to sell a property or wants to occupy it himself?

We can issue a temporary exemption notice for up to three months if we are satisfied that you are taking reasonable steps to ensure that the property no longer requires a licence.

Can the council refuse to license a property?

Yes, if the property does not meet the conditions set out in the application pack.

What happens if a landlord fails to comply with the scheme?

It is an offence to let a property within a designated selective licensing area without a licence. You could be fined up to £20,000.

You can also be fined up to £5,000 for every breach of the conditions of your licence. If we're unable to grant you a licence, or have to revoke a licence, we have powers to take over the management of your property.

Does the landlord have any rights of appeal against council decisions?

Yes, you can appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal within 28 days if you disagree with any of our decisions.

Contact us
Housing Solutions
03000 268 000
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