Private Rented Sector Licensing in Nottingham

In Nottingham, we currently have two types of licensing in the Private Rented Sector. HMO Licensing, and Additional Licensing (see below). All that however, could be about to change with the introduction of Selective Licensing across the whole city authority.

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, and requires ratification from the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government before it can be introduced. The intended start date, if the scheme gets the go-ahead is February 2018.  

Landlords wil need to pay £600 per property for the licence, they will need to provide EPC's, Gas & Electrical Certificates, and floorplans of their properties, as well as pass a fit & proper person test. 

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.


Nottingham City Council - Additional Licensing

In Nottingham, before 1 January 2014, mandatory licensing 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. 

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?

For clarity's sake, 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. 

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.