Private Rented Sector Licensing in Nottingham

In Nottingham, there are now 4 different types of of licensing in the Private Rented Sector. Mandatory HMO Licensing (for large traditional shared properties), Additional Licensing (for smaller shared properties) Section 257 HMO Licencing (this covers buildings converted into flats that are then rented out, and falls into Additional Licencing), and now from August 2018 we have Selective Licensing (this essentially covers EVERY privately rented residential property across the whole city authority).

Nottingham City Council Selective licensing

 

Nottingham City Council - Selective Licensing 

In January 2017 Nottingham City Council launched a consultation on a citywide licensing scheme that could see every privately rented home in the city licensed. This will include everything from studio flats in the city centre, right up to family homes in the suburbs. The scheme is designed to tackle property standards and tenant anti-social behaviour. The scheme was given the go-ahead by the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government in February 2018 and commences on August 1st 2018, taking in over 30,000 homes across the city.

The fees for this scheme have had consistently moving goalposts, but the latest announcements from the city council advise that the cost is going to be set at £780 per property. There will be discounts for accredited landlords, that could bring the cost down to £520. (The city council are however still advising that this could still change by upto 20%!) 

As well as the £780 fee, landlords will also need to pay for DBS checks, Electrical Condition Reports, a Floorplan, and an updated EPC if they don't already have them. Landlords will also need to provide proof that they have attended at least one days formal landlord training, even if they use a licensed & accredited agent to manage their properties.  

For reasons best known to themselves, the city council are allowing one month, July, for landlords to apply for their licence.  

In conjunction with East Midlands Property Owners (EMPO), Granger & Oaks will be holding a series of Selective Licensing Workshops to help landlords prepare for the licence application start date of July 1st. 

Each workshop will last for 2 hours and they are being held at Castle Cavendish Business Centre, Dorking Road, Radford. The dates & times are as follows; 

Wednesday 2nd May 2018 - 11:00am – 1:00pm, 1:30pm – 3:30pm, 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Monday June 18th 2018 - 11:00am – 1:00pm, 1:30pm – 3:30pm, 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Tuesday July 10th 2018 - 11:00am – 1:00pm, 1:30pm – 3:30pm, 4:30pm – 6:30pm

The objective of the workshops is to explain, step-by-step, exactly what landlords need to do to initially get licenced, and then explain there ongoing requirement to manage their properties within the terms of the scheme. 

There will be Q&A’s along the way, and attendees will leave with a full practical understanding of what is required in time for the August 1st deadline.  

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The latest information that we have on the scheme can be found here. 

 What is an HMO?

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a building or part of a building occupied as a main residence by 3 or more people that form 2 or more households.

Households can be one person or several people provided that they are related to each other, including cousins, grandparents and stepchildren as well as partners living together. E.g. 1 brother and 1 sister = 1 household. 1 brother, 1 sister and 1 friend = 2 households.

HMO

Nottingham City Council - Additional Licensing

In Nottingham, before 1 January 2014, HMO licensing only applied to HMOs which have 3 or more storeys* and are occupied by 5 or more people, from two or more households. From January 2014 however landlords with properties within a very speciic area were required by Nottingham City Council, to have an HMO licence if their property was rented out to 3 sharers that were not part of the same household. Landlords that fall into this scheme will need to re-licence their properties in January 2019.

Section 257 HMO's

As part of the Additional Licensing program, Nottingham City Council also included buildings that are classed as Sec tion 257 HMO's. These are buildings that were formerly one residence that had been split into flats and did not meet 1991 Building Regulations at the time they were converted. The stipulation for a building to be classed as a Section 257 HMO is that less than two thirds of the building are tenanted. At the time of introduction, Nottingham were the only authority to include S257's in their licensing schemes. 

What is a Section 257 HMO?

As an example, take a traditional converted large Victorian terrace that has been split into three flats. If two of those flats are occupied by the owners, it is not a section 257, however if one of the owners decides to move out and rent their flat out, the building becomes a Section 257 HMO. 

From our understanding, Section 257 HMO licences will not be renewed when the licences expire in January 2019. Instead, the flats within the buildings will fall into Selective Licensing, and will need to licenced individually. 

Why do we have Licensing?

Licensing is designed to improve housing standards. Nobody can argue that the standard of some rental property falls below par, and licensing is one of the tools that local authorites use to tackle it. That said, local authorites also have an array of powers that they could implement to insist that property standards are improved.

The PRS in Nottingham is one of the most tightly regulated in the country, and potential landlords neeed to be make sure that their properties meet strict planning & licensing criteria before they consider purchasing. 

Unfortunately, Nottingham, like any other city, has a small element of illegal landlords renting out properties that fall well below an acceptable standard, and blanket licensing schemes are the preferred method to tackle it.  That said, these 'Rogue Landlords' as they are called are few and far between, and the vast majority provide modern, well maintained homes that are enjoyed by an increasing percenatge of the population.