Landlord Selective Licensing Scheme- What, Where, When?

Landlord Selective Licensing

The why (introduction to the Landlord Licensing scheme)…

There was a time – a bloody amazing time – when ONLY landlords of House of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) required a HMO license before being to let their property legally, while the rest of us were spared.

But that was back then, and this is now.

Alas, since then, some very rich and powerful people sat down with some super smart analysts and came up with the idea of introducing compulsory landlord licensing compulsory for all privately rented properties in poorer areas. The idea being, apparently, that it will not only help raise the standard of living conditions, but also help reduce… wait for it… “antisocial behaviour”

Yes, so if we all rally together and purchase landlord licenses, we should see a decline in antisocial behaviour.

Wait, what? Confused? Yes, me too. But that’s irrelevant unfortunately.

The issue of the ‘Selective Landlord Licensing Scheme’ isn’t particularly new, in fact, it’s been looming around like a repugnant Vegetarian’s fart since April 2006. However, it’s starting to get rolled across more and more boroughs around the nation, so naturally an increasing amount of landlords are starting to make some noise as they get a whiff.

Sadly, it’s an issue ALL landlords SHOULD be aware of because it is a legal requirement if it applies to you, consequently it could also account for unbudgeted costs, and have major influence over where a landlord chooses to buy in the future. I’ve already spoken to a few landlords that consciously avoid zones that are subject to the scheme- not because they have something to hide, but simply out of principle. Yes, landlords with morals, I’m not fucking with you. But that’s another story for another day.

As with most of these harebrained schemes introduced to benefit the ‘greater good’ – it comes attached with a financial cost that landlords are forced to grin and bear. In other words, the ‘bend over, this won’t hurt a bit’ treatment is in full effect. Of course, it always hurts, and there’s always plenty of anal-blood squirting all over the place.

Someone is getting richer, but it definitely isn’t the landlord.

Anyone else remember Home Information Packs (HIP’s)? Yeah, that steaming pile of shit wasn’t a bad dream either. Let’s just hope this bubble pops even quicker and the damage is limited.

I know, I’ve got a brilliant idea, let’s throw as many shitty policies up against the wall to see what sticks, and let’s ensure they cost landlords a shitload. That will be fucking hilarious.

Landlord Policies

Another day at the office: Having fun while reducing the deficit we created!

What is the landlord licensing scheme?

Sections 79, 80 and 81 of the Housing Act 2004 provided for the introduction of a scheme of selective licensing of private landlords in a local housing authority’s area (i.e. a poor area where many tenants are receiving housing benefits). The Act came into force in April 2006.

Selective licensing is intended to address the impact of poor quality private landlords and reduce levels of antisocial behaviour. It was primarily introduced to tackle problems in areas of low housing demand in mind – although the Act also allows for selective licensing in some other circumstances.

In areas subject to selective licensing, all private landlords must obtain a licence, it is the landlord’s legal obligation. Failing to do so could result in heavy-handed penalties. I quote Gateshead council, “If the landlord of a property in a selective licensing area doesn’t have a licence, he/she commits an offence that may be punishable by a fine of up to £20,000.”

Yes, that’s a 20 grand fine!! Bosh! How do you like that?

But that’s not all, breaches of the licence can also incur extra penalties in the sum of £5,000.

Like I said, someone is getting very rich from this cash cow. Although, I’ve heard allegations of it being a ‘non-profit’ scheme. Right.

Do I still need a license if I use a letting agent to manage my property?


This has nothing to do with letting agents; landlords are solely responsible for obtaining a valid licence if their property is located in a borough which requires a license.

What do landlords need to do in order to get a license?

If you’re required to get a landlord license, you will need to apply for a license via your local council. Just to clarify, that’s ONE license per property, but some boroughs have been generous enough to offer bulk rates. Amazing!

If you’re unsure whether you’re subject to the scheme, as said, just ask your local council or look on their website. If you’ve got the stomach for it, you could even ask your local letting agent. Whatever works.

Usually the person who is in control of the property (the person who receives the rent) makes the application and is the licence holder. This could be the owner or landlord, however it could also be a manager employed by the owner.

Once an application is submitted, it must be processed to determine whether or not you will be granted a licence. So in practise, yes, you could get rejected.

Each borough will have their own set of conditions, which the landlord must meet in order to be granted a license. Landlords are also expected to stick to certain conditions once the license is granted. There are also certain mandatory conditions which need to be addressed, which include the following:

  • A valid gas safety certificate, if gas is supplied to the house
  • Electrical appliances and furniture (supplied under the tenancy) must be in safe condition
  • Smoke alarms must be in proper working order
  • The tenant must be supplied with a written statement of the terms of occupation
  • References must be demanded from persons wishing to occupy the house

The mandatory conditions all fall in the realm of ‘pretty standard stuff’. Needless to say, I shouldn’t need to buy an extortionately expensive license just to confirm I’m already doing what any half-baked landlord should already be doing. I guess it’s one of those situations where the good have to suffer because of the bad. Fair.

Where/how much?

I’m told the cost varies depending on location/borough, but from the information I’ve gathered, you’re looking at the £500 mark for a license, which remains valid for 5 years. Again, the conditions may depend on the district your property falls under.

Here’s a list of the areas that are subject to landlord licensing, but I’m sure there are more, these are just the ones I’m currently aware of. I’ll try to keep the information updated, so if anyone has any additional information, please let me know and I’ll make the appropriate amendments.

Note: smaller areas within boroughs may only be subject to landlord licensing, and not necessarily the entire borough!


Blackpool, ClaremontUnknownBlackpool CouncilYes
Blackpool, South BeachUnknownBlackpool CouncilYes
Blackburn, Ewood£500Blackburn CouncilYes
Blackburn, Queens Park£500Blackburn CouncilYes
Blackburn, Sudell£500Blackburn CouncilYes
Blackburn, Sunnyhurst£500Blackburn CouncilYes
Blackburn, Marshouse£500Blackburn CouncilYes
BostonUnknownBoston CouncilYes
Bristol£1000 for a 5 year licenceBristol CouncilYes
BurnleyUnknownBurnley & Dagenham CouncilYes
Doncaster, Hexthorpe£500Doncaster CouncilYes
Durham, Wembley area/Easington CollieryTo be agreedDurham CouncilYes
Durham, Dean Bank/Ferryhill£450Durham CouncilYes
Durham, Chilton West£450Durham CouncilYes
GatesheadUnknownGateshead CouncilYes
HartlepoolN/AHartlepool CouncilYes
Hastings£665Hastings CouncilYes
HyndburnN/AHyndburn CouncilYes
Leeds, Cross GreenUnknownLeeds CouncilYes
Leeds, East End ParkUnknownLeeds CouncilYes
Liverpool£200 – £400Liverpool CouncilNoThe Landlord Licensing Scheme ended on 31st March 2020
Lincolnshire, West Lindsey£375West Lindsey CouncilYes
London, Barking & Dagenham£500 for a 5 year licenceBarking & Dagenham CouncilYes
London, BrentFrom £340 for a 5 year licenceBrent CouncilYes
London, Croydon£750 for a 5 year licence (£350 early bird discount available)Croydon CouncilYesUnsuccessful challenge
London, Enfield£600 for a 5 year licenceEnfield Council1 Sep 2021
London, Newham£500Newham CouncilYes
London, Tower Hamlets£595 for a 5 year licenceTower Hamlets CouncilYes
London, Waltham Forest£650 for a 5 year licenceWaltham Forest CouncilUnder debate
NewcastleUnknownNewcastle CouncilYes
Nottingham£780Nottingham CouncilSpring 2018
Oxford£480Manchester CouncilYes
Manchester£500Oxford City CouncilYes
Middlesbrough£580 for 5 yearsMiddlesbrough CouncilYes
Oldham£490 for 5 yearsOldham CouncilYes
Peterborough£600 for 5 yearsPeterborough CouncilYes
RotherhamUp to £605 for 5 yearsRotherham CouncilYes
SalfordUnknownSalford CouncilYes
Sheffield£1,000Sheffield CouncilYes
Stoke-on-trent, TunstallUnknownStoke-on-trent CouncilYes
Thanet, Cliftonville WestUnknownThanet CouncilYes
Thanet, Margate Central Wards / MargateUnknownThanet CouncilYes
Wirral£625 for 5 yearsWirral CouncilYes
Wolverhampton£525 for 5 yearsWolverhampton CouncilYes

Important: I update the list as and when I can- usually after someone leaves a comment or emails me directly with an update. However, I wouldn’t rely on the list to be up-to-date. If you wish to find out accurate information regarding a particular borough, you should either look on their website, or contact them directly.


It works slightly differently in Wales from what I’m aware.

Any landlord who has a rental property in Wales which is rented on an assured, assured shorthold or regulated tenancy is required to “register”, which costs £33.50 if completed online (paper-applications cost £80.50. Ridiculous!).

If you are a self-managed landlord (e.g. arranging or conducting viewings with prospective tenants and the tenancy agreements etc), you may also need an additional “license” The licenses last 5 years, and the fee is currently £144.00 for applications completed online (applications submitted via paper application costs £186.00).

More details on both over at the Rent Smart website.

Are you outraged? Care enough to start a petition?

As you may have noticed from the table, Enfield Borough Council’s landlord licensing scheme was successfully petitioned against by a bunch of landlords. Yes, the scheme was scrapped! Phewwww, close call from being totally ass-raped.

Croydon Borough are in the process of trying to do the same.

If you care enough, you should definitely follow suit and fight the good fight. Most Boroughs will have a petition scheme available. Ask your council or look on their website or try Googling “[Borough name] petition”

Power to the people!

Why I think the Landlord Licensing Scheme is nonsensical!

Of course, I’ve heard many landlords applaud and praise the introduction and expansion of the scheme. But I don’t really understand why.

Actually, I think I do, it’s the marketing campaign that’s been strategically used to push this shit-storm forward to win over votes. But it’s all smoke screen and mirrors, really, it’s just bullshit marketing. There’s a lot of hype and emphasis on “improving social housing”, but I’m not convinced.

All I see right now is a couple of punks in suits, jacking me in the middle of the day. Daylight robbery.

I specifically say “NO” to the scheme because I don’t think it will directly resolve the underlying problems the scheme is packaged to address, let alone any problem at all. If anything, I believe it will have an adverse effect on the overall industry. Let me explain why…

  • Cost: obviously the cost element is a concern. £500 is nothing to sneeze at, especially when I feel like I’m being mis-sold a product that is fundamentally pointless. Also, if it’s there to help landlords, tenants, and society at large, why the hell are landlords left copping the bill?
  • Bad landlords: the powers that be have suggested that the license is a key tool to raise living conditions and prevent bad landlords from getting away with whatever it is they have been getting away with all these years.

    Ok, so they expect the landlords that are ALREADY providing poorly conditioned properties and neglecting their obligations to suddenly pay attention to this new legislation. Really?

    What’s another legislation to completely ignore for a bad landlord? Nothing.

  • Stacking penalties: tenants shouldn’t be misled in order to swing the votes in favour of the scheme, but I feel like that’s the case. Sadly, this scheme is preying on “ignorance”

    If a landlord genuinely participates in foul-play, there are laws already in place to enforce prosecution. This legislation won’t add any extra ‘needed’ penalties. All this is going to do is add an extra penalty on already prosecutable offenses.

  • Tenants choice: tenants have the right to choose where they live. If they enter a property that looks and smells unsafe, and is smeared in congealed goat urine and gonorrhoea, yet still deem it appropriate living conditions, surely that’s their choice. Do they really expect a high level of service? Aren’t they putting themselves in danger voluntarily?

    These tenants genuinely don’t give a shit about where or how they live, and nothing Landlords can do will change that. They don’t see a problem in their behaviour or how they treat others. Now that’s the real problem behind antisocial behaviour.

  • Tackling antisocial behaviour: the most mystifying aspect about this scheme is that it’s meant to reduce levels of antisocial behaviour. I have no idea what statistical information was crunched in order to swing that conclusion, but I fail to fathom the correlation. Perhaps it was just a case of manipulating the numbers until it looked ‘almost justifiable’, or maybe I’m just missing the point.

    I understand how it might improve living standards for tenants, but beyond that, I see no overall advantage for landlords or the community (which is what it says I does on the tin- and I don’t like paying for things I don’t particularly understand). For example, is installing smoke alarms going to stop a tenant from kicking you in the head because they think it’s funny? No.

    If this scheme ‘takes off’, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if the meaning of “antisocial behaviour” and “problem areas” becomes looser and looser. Before we know it, graffiti on the wall will trigger off code red alerts, and obviously the best way to put that fire out is with a landlord license.

  • Current legislation: from my experience and knowledge, I believe that most corners are covered in terms of ‘health and safety’ with the existing legislation- ultimately, that is what we’re talking about here, right? I don’t buy the whole “tackling antisocial behaviour” aspect, so let’s ignore that all together. This is about raising standards, and making those accountable that fail to meet those standards.

    Landlords are already required to ensure gas and electrics are safe, they are also required to ensure heating and water systems are in proper working order, and to generally provide a safe living environment. The main issues beyond those parameters are usually related to the personality disorders of the individual landlords/tenants. And unfortunately, rehabilitation and personality transplants don’t come in the form of £500 licenses. If a landlord is an arsehole, he’s an arsehole. Period.

  • The slowdown: I suspect the entire process of letting a property will slow down, meaning longer vacant periods, slower “transition” times, and an overall loss of earnings. This will affect the entire chain, not just the landlord.
  • Invitation for other fees: mortgage lenders have started to refuse lending in landlord licensed zones, which makes sense, but obviously that’s a massive concern, but not only regarding borrowing, but also other services like insurance. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if insurance policies started to climb in those flagged “problem areas” that require landlord licensing. Ouch!

The scheme may especially sound appealing to tenants, but sadly, they’re probably the ones that will end up suffering the most. As already said, this license isn’t going to protect tenants from “bad landlords”, it’s just not a sustainable or logical policy that tackles the real issues it’s advertised to address. But besides from that, consider the following…

  • Many landlords are already on tight budgets, so they’ll need to get that extra money to pay for the license from somewhere. Who do you think will be the most likely person they look to when it comes to passing on the costs?
  • Even those that aren’t on tight budgets, it’s just another justified excuse to raise the already crazy rental prices. Letting agents will have a field day- because I’m sure they’ll somehow swindle this cost into their ‘admin fee’
  • Instead of paying £500 for a license, wouldn’t both landlord/tenant rather spend that money on improving the property and making it more comfortable? I know I would. In that sense, the license suddenly becomes extremely counter-intuitive.

Solving the actual problem

Real positive change usually comes through awareness and education.

The main problem associated with poor living conditions and acceptance of those conditions is ignorance. People don’t know any better because they’re unaware of their statutory rights and the resources they have available. But that’s a fact throughout life, in every aspect. Still to this day, I’m uncertain of what my rights are when a police officer stops me on the street. Will I go and research it when I finish writing this blog? No. Would I listen if someone made an effort to educate me? Yes.

Most tenants don’t know their rights, and even when they’re certain they’re being mistreated, they’re oblivious to what steps to take. Fear is also a major factor; many tenants are scared when they’re being mistreated. The common misconception is that landlords hold all the power, with the ability to force tenants into homelessness at the drop of a hat, which of course is completely untrue.

  • Tenants know they’re entitled to hot water and a working heating system, or at least assume they are. But how many know that if the landlord doesn’t resolve the problem in reasonable time, they can report the issue to the Health and Safety Executive for further investigation, which could lead to prosecution?
  • Same applies with tenancy deposits and tenancy deposit schemes– many tenants are still oblivious that their deposits are protected (or should be), so landlords can’t just unfairly snatch deposits.
  • Another massive misunderstanding is that tenants often believe that their statutory rights are directly related to how much rent they are paying. Again, completely untrue. It doesn’t matter if you are paying £100pcm or £2000cpm, you are ALL entitled to your statutory rights, meaning you are entitled to live in a safe environment.
  • Taking legal action against anyone sounds expensive, and that acts as a major deterrent for allowing justice to prevail. Court room, lawyers, some weird woman taking notes on a typewriter… all sounds crazy expensive, right? Really, it isn’t, nor is it that complicated to take legal action against your landlord. Need free legal advice? No problem, Shelter and Citizens Advice are at your disposal.
  • Since the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates in 2006, not ONE of my tenants have enquired about it or known of its existence, even though it’s my legal obligation as the landlord to purchase that bullshit and present it to them during a viewing…

    What The Fuck Is An Energy Performance (EPC)?

All these issues point to one fundamental issue: lack of education, NOT lack of legislation.

Clearly, there are already legislations in place to protect tenants and landlords from problems that most commonly occur; they’re in place right now, at this very moment. We don’t need another wrapper (because that’s essentially all the license is) to sit on top of the existing legislation. We need more people to be aware of what already exists. The landlord license scheme is just another policy tenants will need to be educated on, so the real problem isn’t being tackled, it’s only being multiplied.

If the powers that be want to make a real positive impact, they need to cut the bullshit and tackle the underlying issues. Educating tenants and landlords of their rights and responsibilities would be much better served than throwing nonsensical and ‘expensive’ shit at the wall.

Despite my futile ramblings, it is a legal obligation, so if it applies, buy the damn license. Bitch.

I’m just about done here.

So, what are your thoughts? Have any of you been subject to the licenses? Also, once again, if anyone has any additional information on licensing zones, please let me know!

172 Join the Conversation...

Showing 122 - 172 comments (out of 172)
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Mandy Thomson 17th November, 2016 @ 09:34

I've just learned that Hemmings has been successful in the Supreme Court:

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Ko Malik 30th November, 2016 @ 13:59

I am outraged. I bought the licence as my from my own experience Council Workers are a bunch of morally corrupt not by nature but by profession. Their work practices allows them to do what they like and make decisions that if taken further would not work in their favour. But the costs associated with taking a case further for the service user are excessive which is why the Councils always end up being the winner without the need for neither the judge nor the jury. The magistrates court sucks anyway. Sorry to be blunt but a system for someone paying for everything and abiding by every law to live quietly does not work out in their favour.
I licence the property, paying out £500 what the charge was for the 5 year scheme but a year later, when I heard about the scheme. I did the basics that were required. The Council writes to them about everything which I disagree with about visiting and about what they wanted me to do, which was just an electric appliance certificate. I did it all and a year later, I've learnt that the tenant has got on to the Council asking them to replace the windows in the back room which has moisture inside. I'm not sure if this is justifiable. My own windows has moisture inside, early morning and dries out as soon as it mid morning. This is despicable.

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Chris 1st December, 2016 @ 23:08

Hello. A local resident of Peterborough here, slap bang in the middle of a street in the Selective Licensing area. Some interesting comments above, especially from Jenni who it appears has property in Peterborough. I wouldn't expect a landlords forum to be pro-licensing obviously, but thought I would offer a residents (and non-landlords) view, so here goes!

Whilst I don't know how successful the scheme in Peterborough will be - that will depend on the council's available resource to enforce the rules - what I do know is we've seen a slow degradation in our area in the 9 years we've lived here. For reference, we live in an old part of the city with some lovely period property which, in my opinion, is worth preserving. So in short, we are fans of the scheme!

We've seen an increase in anti-social behaviour, crime, poor standards of living and HMO's in recent years. Of course, these social problems can not be laid solely at the feet of rogue landlords, there are some great tenanted properties with good landlords here. However, what we have seen is an increasing number of beautiful period properties being sold off to landlords who subsequently rip them apart and stuff for example five "young professionals" into a 3-bed terrace, all in the name of yield and profit. Families are moving out, HMO's are moving in and the properties just aren't conducive to this type of conversion.

Sadly, there are increasingly more and more bad examples. Opposite the above property, a family is looking to sell after fruitlessly trying to get the landlord to deal with the infestation of bed bugs which have navigated the adjoining loft space into their home. Add that to the constant string of poor tenants, the latest of which urinates in the garden, and it's easy to see why they've had enough.

Lately, we've also had bus loads of property tourists being bussed in by a local firm to take photos of houses for investment purposes, apparently, they are on a course learning to be landlords. Materially, there's nothing wrong with that you'd say, good landlords are as important to the fabric of any area as good owner occupiers, except that's not really what we are getting!

The majority of landlords don't live near their properties, so why should they care about the impact of their actions on our area? This type of behaviour brings more pressure on parking and services in what are narrow streets, a loss of family homes as layouts change, a deterioration in the fabric of properties, and a loss of a sense of community with a revolving door of tenants. Do ALL landlords actually think about the impact of their actions on area, truthfully? You'd struggle to convince me otherwise, and before you leap to the defence of your fellow landlords, I worked at a leading property website for 10 years so I know how the market and lettings agents work. Lately, we've had lots of marketing asking us to sell our property to waiting landlords, apparently one's Mummy wants to buy ours?!

Put bluntly, a lot of local residents have had enough so as you can imagine we are looking forward to seeing what the scheme can do. We are also pooling resources to see how we can support the council, having had recent meetings with them to discuss our concerns. We've nothing against landlords per se, as mentioned above I know how important they are to any area, but there needs to be the right balance and tenants have a basic right to good standard accommodation. If you are a Peterborough landlord doing things properly, surely you've nothing to fear from the scheme (other than the cost!) It may or may not succeed, but something needs to be done in our area and as local residents it has our full support.

So, there you go, sorry for the long post but hopefully some reasoned debate from the other side of the argument! As a write this, next door to us is now up for sale and to be honest, we are dreading what might happen.



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Beryl 2nd December, 2016 @ 13:48

28/10/2016 comment 119. why oh why have I not heard from any of you re fighting this dreadful licencing fiasco. It benefits no one except the councils.
Please, please get in touch and with unity we will have strength.
[email protected]

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Alun Owen 19th December, 2016 @ 17:19

I've registered, successfully completed the course, and am now waiting for my landlord's licence - total cost £330. You can't pick and choose which laws you must obey. Not having a landlorzYrd
The Rent Smart Wales people npw need to chase up the law-breakers - the unlicensed ones - and start fining them. Otherwise, I want my money back.

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Maz 23rd January, 2017 @ 18:06

There is a new even more expensive scheme just entering consultation for the whole of the Nottingham City Council area. The fee will be £600 for five years for any PRS property. There's precious little additional benefit as far as I can see on their site apart from material they have lifted from other scheme's spurious claims. There will be a 77 strong enforcement department in year 1 of the scheme earning £25m for the council. Consultation runs from Jan-March 2017 and hardly anyone seems to have even heard about it yet..

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Claire 21st February, 2017 @ 13:05

Any chance you can confirm the last date this list was updated, is it recent?

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st February, 2017 @ 13:40

I update the list as and when I can- usually after someone leaves a comment or emails me directly with an update. I believe I last updated it a few weeks ago.

However, I wouldn't rely on the list to be up-to-date. If you wish to find out accurate information regarding a particular borough, you should either look on their website, or contact them directly.

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j smith 12th March, 2017 @ 00:30

Liverpool city council licencing have chosen a blanket selective licensing.
council charge full payment for 5 years straight away.
landlords in liverpool are all too frightened to speak out against the licencing scheme who has no benefit to tenants and the city.
altogether is in vilation of data protection act as the forms require a lots of information about all parties which is confidencial.
they have implemented a blanket scheme whereas this is called selective licensing not blancket licensing.

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Beryl 12th March, 2017 @ 10:29

No one except the council benefits. Money rolling in. So few enforcement officers only pen pushers. Disgusted with it all and so many hundreds of pounds worse off.

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Chris Duff 30th August, 2017 @ 13:42

Beryl, see my post above. I couldn't disagree more with your comments. It has the potential to benefit local residents, many of whom have seen the heart ripped out of their communities in recent years by poor quality rentals, HMO's, bad tenants and absentee landlords who have no interest in the dynamics of an area, only the profit they can make from owning property in it. Interesting, but not suprising, that no one here has been prepared to respond to my comments? Before anyone does, I'm not anti-landlord - my sister is a local landlord in Peterborough - but more needs to be done to hold bad landlords to account and this is one way to do it.

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Nimby 31st August, 2017 @ 11:34

Interesting, but not suprising, that no one here has been prepared to respond to my comments?

Probably because its not really worth bothering to respond to your NIMBY viewpoint -you clearly don't want people renting near you.

Your main whinge about HMO's is irrelevant as they were already separately licensed anyway.

Peterborough's landlord licensing scheme is now nearly one year old. Has it made any improvement whatsoever? Has it buggery.

But it has pushed up the cost of renting, deflected criticism from the councils failure to use its existing powers and created lots of council non-jobs.

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Chris Duff 31st August, 2017 @ 13:07

@Nimby. why the need for insults, perhaps we can stick to adult debate?

Have you actually read my original post? Based on your knee jerk response evidently not. If you had you will see I stressed the need for balance in an area between owned and rented. At present around 45% of property in my area is rented (based on the survey data used to justify the scheme) and on the increase, and with that has come numerous social and other issues, hence the council putting the scheme in place. I'm not going to pretend it's a perfect scheme, and I think it's too soon to judge whether it will help or not, but for us it was a postive step.

What I do see daily are the issue on my doorstep and in the area. I wonder if I bought the house next door to you and stuffed 5 tenants into a 3-bed victorian semi then neglected to look after the property you would have the same views? No, thought not. It seems some landlords are happy so long as the shit happens elsewhere.

As for HMO's, let's not pretend that they are all properly licensed shall we. Yes they should be, but having spoken to the main guy heading up the licensing scheme at the council and hearing some of horror the stories he had to tell, I doubt very much they all are. Like for example someone living in a cupboard under the stairs in a Peterborough property. Which brings us back to the reason for the scheme in the first place, doesn't it?

I'd like to see your evidence that the cost of renting has increased since the scheme was launched? Agree that the council has much to answer for around using existing powers, not just in property but in many other areas of its work.

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Nimby 31st August, 2017 @ 15:05


What insults?
Your NIMBY viewpoint is clear for all to see.

I think it's too soon to judge whether it will help or not

The perennial justification.
When will we know? 2 years, 5 years, 20 years. We never will know because the council has conveniently left out any hard quantifiable standards on which it can be judged.

I wonder if I bought the house next door to you and stuffed 5 tenants etc etc

You know nothing of my circumstances, suffice to say, I have considerably more experience in this than you (even if you are a sock puppet license scheme worker, which seems quite likely).

As for HMO's, let's not pretend that they are all properly licensed shall we.

Who is pretending? This simply illustrates that the useless councils can't or won't effectively use their existing powers, let alone invent a scheme to waste resources chasing after legally compliant landlords. Bizarre to argue this as a justification.

I'd like to see your evidence that the cost of renting has increased since the scheme was launched?

A bit rich coming from someone who has supplied no evidence to back their view, but here you go;

Extrapolate figures from the graph with the previous years rates;

Now, where is your evidence that licensing hasn't affected rents?

Incidentally, if you genuinely are a homeowner in a selective licensing area, have you tried remortgaging lately? Lenders tend to be very reluctant to lend in council branded plague areas.

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Chris Duff 31st August, 2017 @ 17:08

Of course, silly me, you used the phrase "your NIMBY viewpoint" and now "sock puppet" as terms of endearment didn't you. Why resort to this sort of stuff, it's not needed?

You also know nothing of my circumstances either, or how much experience I have - 10 years combined at a leading property website and estate agency software house is enough to give me quite a bit. Whether that's more than you I will leave you to decide, but I wasn't aware this was a willy waving competition!

And no, I have no connection to the council and genuienly am a concerned resident of the area who is interested in what landlords think about this. A neighbour and I got involved after speaking to a local councillor about our concerns, he aired our views with the head of the project and from there we had some consultation meetings before the scheme was launched. They were very informative, and in the interests of providing balance to the argument, we weren't 100% convinced either but given the issues we have experienced it felt like a positive step forward.

I hate councils wasting money as much as the next person, and am aware (having spoken again to our local councillor) they have brought some people to account over poor rental standards since the launch. As for the long term success of the project, I agree there should be some quantifiable standards of measurement.

Interesting data on rents rising, I wonder how much of that would have been organic anyway but happy to cede the point. By the way, I never said it hadn't increased rents, I asked the question out of interest and because of my background.

You still haven't really addressed or discussed any of the issues raised in my original post - and by that I mean the degredation of inner city areas of Peterborough, social issues, poor quality rentals, pressure on services, conversion of period houses not conducive to being HMO's etc. - I could go on. Instead, you'd rather dismiss me as some kind of troll working for the council because you disagree with my views, at the same time telling me you know more than me, very condescening I must say. My concerns are geniune, and sadly very real and I'm not the only local resident to be worried.

For what it's worth, I know this scheme potentially penalises good landlords who are doing things properly, but I've also seen more than enough evidence of the bad to justify that something needed to be done. And despite your arguments to the contrary I'm still hopeful.

And yes, I remortgaged in January with no issues!

Thanks for the debate.

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kate 18th September, 2017 @ 16:03

Hi I'm thinking of buying a property in lincoln to rent out to students. I have checked the Lincoln city webiste and they only mention the trusted landlords scheme. Does anyone know if this is the only registration I would have to make with the council?

Also does anyone know the possible cost? The list above does not cover Lincoln.

Thank you

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Saverio 15th February, 2018 @ 12:48

Golding estate is charging £300 admin fee on top of the £400 for the licence in Liverpool.

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gizz 18th February, 2018 @ 18:03

Selective licensing is being introduced in London Borough of Harrow Roxeth and Roxbourne wards on 14th March 2018. The consultation seems rushed and hush hush - as a landlord I wasn't invited to take part in it and only found out after it had been agreed. This despite the council being fully aware i am a landlord in the affected area as my flat is an ex local authority flat and i pay them a £70 admin fee in my service charge because it is let out - to account for the fact they have to post me copies of all notices to my home address. It seems like another underhanded way to make money from the small landlords who just cant afford it. I already comply with all their requirements and they regularly check up by asking to see my certificates and my tenancy agreements. The ASB problem in the area is caused prinarily by the council tenants who don't have jobs and hang around all day. I insist on my tenants having jobs so they can afford the rent. Basically Harrow council have created the ASB situation and are expecting the decent landlords to foot the bill.

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Beryl Williams 19th February, 2018 @ 08:53

Our rental property is in Wales. We have been Licenced for over a year now. Neither us or our tenant have had any benefit whatsoever from this.. Because we live in France, we have had to pay for 2 licences!!!!! They said I could not get there in an emergency. What sort of emergency is that I asked. I can ring a builder, plumber, etc I am not qualified to do their work. If I lived in the Outer Hebredies would I need 2 licences? No they said.
We had to sit an exam and my daughter who has the 2nd Licence had to sit a different exam. There was inaccurate information in the laughable course work.
I spoke to the Head of RSW only last week....... again... to complain, and ask questions. Because rules and regulations are different in Wales to England it is difficult to know which appertains to which..........
I asked her where the Licence money went...listen to this...... it goes to run their outfit and nothing else. No benefit to anyone except to pay fat cat salaries to themselves. Please comment. I would love to hear from you.

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Mandy Thomson 19th April, 2018 @ 09:43

Following a recent successful appeal by a landlord, the Court of Appeal has found that local authorities cannot lawfully impose selective licensing conditions that are above and beyond national legislation.

So for example, they can demand that a stair rail is fitted where one is missing, but they can't demand that a landlord supplies a carbon monoxide alarm where there is no solid fuel appliance.

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Mandy Thomson 12th August, 2018 @ 10:04

The verdict from a judicial review, The Queen on the application of Mr Peter Gaskin v LB Richmond Upon Thames (2018) EWHC 1996 (Admin), has found that any fee charged for a landlord's licence can only be limited to the cost of processing the application and not enforcement and operating costs.

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John 30th October, 2018 @ 21:15

Earlier this year I received correspondence that the area in which my rental property was situated (Manchester) would require me to have a Landlords Licence under the Selective Licence Scheme, less than 6 month later I am now told my property (6 bedroom student accommodation) will require a HMO, am I required to have both?

If yes, why 2 licence's serving the same purpose for the same property?

If no, why have the local authority forced me to have a Selective Licence, knowing that Statutory legislation was put in place (apparently the Government announced it in December 2017), meaning that less than 6 months later it would require me to have a HMO Licence for that very same property?

Either way I have to pay these rouges twice!! I choked on the thought of having to pay them the first time for this scam, but twice, what a joke :-(

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Mandy Thomson 31st October, 2018 @ 06:16

@John if you've already applied for another type of landlord licence, this will be automatically "passport" you unto a mandatory HMO licence, meaning you will only have to apply for a mandatory HMO licence when your licence comes up for renewal. See the decision tree at the bottom of this publication by the NLA.

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Paul Roberts 5th November, 2018 @ 00:33

Applying for a Landlords Licence with Liverpool City Council, question for anyone - do you know what they do with the mortgagee details they ask for?

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Kuldip singh 12th February, 2019 @ 07:40

Is license required in Derby

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 12th February, 2019 @ 12:31

Best to look on the council website, or contact them directly...

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Rita Ebdon 12th February, 2019 @ 15:40

I purchased a flat in September 2018, it is in a council licensing area and the previous owner held a license. A representative from the council inspected the flat and gave me a long list of work to be carried out to enable me to have a license. The flat was bought with the tenant in situ and I have kept the tenant on as she is a good one. The required repairs/improvements are what we expected, windows were falling out/wouldn't close, no fire doors in place, broken taps, no workable lighting in the bathroom to name a few. The top floor studio flat's tenant has a drink problem, he is antisocial and has caused damage to the property, whilst I was visiting my tenant, someone was trying the kick the front door in as they couldn't gain entry to the top flat. None of the flats had fire doors. I cannot understand what benefit the licensing scheme has had on this building and why haven't the previous managing agent been fined for renting out property that wasn't up to standard.

My license costs £631.00 for 5 years, Cliftonville, Thanet

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Mandy Thomson 12th February, 2019 @ 16:36

@Rita_Eddon "Landlord licensing raises standards"......

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Numpty 23rd July, 2019 @ 16:41

Help, thoughts appreciated...

So I have a mortgage on a house and took in a lodger, an old friend, and we shared the house for 7+ years. Then I moved away for work and the my friend stayed on in my house.

A few days ago I received a pack saying that I must get a licence. Ok, fine but the costs are mental. £750 for the licence, got to get a EPC, gas safety and DBS. Oh and because I now live too far away from the house I HAVE TO pay a manager to... I'm not sure what the manager will does...

I have to get a tenancy agreement and references for a friend of 20+ years. We've never had such an agreement as we've known each other for so long. In fact if he moved out, I wouldn't rent the house out to anyone else/strangers.

The council say the tenancy agreement must has clauses on anti-social behaviour. My friend is a 54 year old quiet guy...

I don't make any profit on this. Yes what he pays me goes towards the mortgage but nowhere near covers it.

I have explained the situation to my council and they insist I must get a licence...... The only exemption would be if the lodger was related to me. He's not.

I am considering my options which I see as (a) Moving back in, (b) Asking my friend to move out, (c) Selling the house or (d) Biting the bullet, getting the licence and taking the financial hit.

Oh and they told me on the phone today, the licence will last until 2021 and then we wait for the "Secretary of State" to make a decision on what to do about these licences.

Anyone smell bullshit?

Any help / thoughts / comments, very gratefully received....

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Queen jay 8th October, 2019 @ 14:22

Does anyone know whether London borough if Barking and Dagenham has a grace period given to private landlords to apply for their licence?
When did the council start implementing their scheme was it in 2015 or 2016?
How many years grace period please?

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Sam 17th October, 2019 @ 08:53

Of note, Nottingham introduced Selective Licensing 01/08/2018.
According to a BBC article 16/10/2019, Nottingham incurred the greatest increase in rent prices throughout the UK in the 12 months following this introduction, at 5.4%.
As the owner of a few properties in this area, I have seen almost zero growth in the property values in the last year, so it's not house prices that are driving this increase in rent.
And I am unaware of any other local factors that might be driving increases in rent.
This demonstrates how Selective Licensing causes a direct increase in the cost of rent for tenants.

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Sam 17th October, 2019 @ 08:54

Oops, forgot to attach the link:

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Laurence 14th November, 2019 @ 10:40

As a first time landlord this selective licensing is an absolute joke!! £412 for them to just stamp a bit of paper. Such a Scam. I'm already raising my rent target now because of this. Councils are absolute thieves. Set standards fine but to also charge an amount like this is robbery.

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Mandy Thomson 14th November, 2019 @ 11:21

Croydon Council have only just started carrying out inspections of properties licensed under their selective landlord licensing scheme - less than a year before the licences are due to expire! It seems they're starting in the north of the borough and working their way southwards.

One of my properties was inspected the other day. The inspection didn't take long and was absolutely painless - the gentleman was charming and seemed well informed, though he was running late. Having said that, although it's an older property, the flat is in good condition and I have excellent tenants who maintain it well.

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Kapil C 24th February, 2020 @ 17:41

Hey Peeps, it seems that in the name of compliance, landlords are increasingly being fleeced not just by council, hmrc, government but property agents as well. Property agents I work with have been sending me bills for some ridiculous reasons such as keeping me up to date with new regulations, what the heck.

Wonder if anyone is aware of how best to keep on top of these regulations and noise it is creating left right and center without paying these agents who are good for nothing really?

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Jim Molloy 12th March, 2020 @ 12:15

As a license-holder landlord with a property in Central Blackpool, I am in agreement with your messages. Since registering/licensing last year (under threat of prosecution if not undertaken by a certain date) there has been no communication from the Council about how the fee paid is helping to improve conditions for tenant/local community. Nor has there been any requests from inspectors to view the property or any of the pointless documents requested to be in the tenant's pack which we had to produce (EICR, passport/UK right to live checks, 6-monthly fire safety check etc etc). I suspect no specific inspectors have been created to manage the licence 'breaches', so what I thought at first was just another job-creation scheme at the Council - even that hasn't happened - so where has the money really gone?
The fees for Blackpool are £542 - if you meet the 'Blackpool Standard', and rise to £775 if you don't meet it!! Legalised robbery is when you are deprived of money by an entity which provides no return whatsoever for the monies involved. If there was something returned for fees paid(as in the normal property rates, where we get street lighting, bins emptied etc)then it would be just another form of taxation, but at the moment nothing!
As you rightly say, landlords are just sitting ducks for this sort of legislative abuse where the logical consequences (i.e. who pays in the end?) haven't been thought through.

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Maureen 13th March, 2020 @ 08:31

I am a landlord of 43 years experience
My properties in question were built 2001 4x 3 bed semi with private gated drive & carpark.
In 2015 Rotherham council introduced selective licence
The inspector came round all 4 houses, sent me the reports
I was blow over when I read them, they read no extractor fans in kitchens,bathrooms & cloakroom, these extractor fans were built into the property, my properties were passed by building regulations. When I complained about their so called findings they still have not after five years. I am beginning to think these reports & findings were to warrant giving my houses a license, might I add I have had never had anti social behaviour from any of my tenants.
Rotherham council has now been granted a further 5 years.
This speaks for itself
I have decided to sell up to owner occupied not for investors to make sure Rotherham council does not make anymore profit out of my investment
It proves what a bad area it is & bad condition of my houses I have sold one of my houses to my tenant of 12 years! !

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matt 26th March, 2020 @ 22:33

my daughter has signed for a flat in liverpool that has 5 bedrooms, all on individual contracts but the property has a selective licence on it rather than a HMO, IS that Legal?

many thanks

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Beryl 6th November, 2020 @ 13:46

Can you please make a count of Landlord's opinions of
1. Landlord's Licencing
( I have had to contribute to Rent Smart Wales now for over 4 years and I firmly believe it is a complete waste of time. They have done nothing for Landlords nor Tenants.)
2. Any of the so called professional Landlord representatives. e.g. NRLA
(I believe they are in bed with the respective governments.)

I would be very interested to see if I am alone in these opinions.
If so, I would like to form an organisation that has clout to quell/obliterate them.

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Gareth 1st June, 2021 @ 06:23

London Borough of Enfield is now bringing in Selective Licensing from September 2021 for many wards in the borough.

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Gez 21st August, 2021 @ 08:25

Enfied now introduced selective licensing scheme which im so confused how to start as i rent to 3 individual nurses..does it means it falls under an hmo property?

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 21st August, 2021 @ 08:30

Hi Gez,

I suggest you read the blog post properly, because you seem to have misunderstood that selective licensing is different to HMO license.

According to the Enfield website ( - they class a property HMO if "occupied by five or more people forming more than one household"

So, your property is not a HMO according to them.

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Gez 21st August, 2021 @ 09:00

Many thanks for your response...I'm a new landlord and your response is greatly appreciated.i will do more readings to apply for the license. Great blogs and more power.

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Michelle 15th November, 2021 @ 05:11

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets (not on your list) has a licencing scheme and the selective licence for certain wards is currently £595.

I manage my property from abroad and the LBTH website states that overseas landlords likely wont even be granted a licence as:

"It is unlikely that we would issue a licence to somebody living outside the UK. The council will consider such a request if you can demonstrate that your duties as a licence holder are adequately covered by a responsible person and that they have the authority and funds to carry out urgent repairs if needed"

I am not sure who would apply for the licence in this case with a view to holding it for the five years. I guess the property will just remain unlicensed then and I will manage any urgent repairs from abroad as I always have done - swiftly and efficiently (as with all my rental properties no matter where I am located in the world).

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Sam 15th November, 2021 @ 11:00

Hi Michelle,
As much as I think that Selective Licensing is a waste of tenant's money, and very ineffective at identifying 'rogue' landlords, I would not recommend that you leave your property unlicensed.

The penalties for having an unlicensed property are immense. The Council can impose a penalty of up to £30,000, and if you dispute it and take it to Court, they can impose an unlimited fine. They seem to determine the size of the penalty by the income that you have generated whilst it is unlicensed, and a recent Court case determined that the Council don't have to take your mortgage or running costs into account. Also, here in Nottingham, the single most common prosecution under the Selective Licensing Scheme is for failure to have a licence. It is ridiculous that they have effectively set up a licensing scheme with the primary objective of fining people who don't join the scheme. But it is the easy money for them.
In Nottingham, the council spend the majority of the fee on checking the paperwork, to the smallest detail. A case in point is that an EPC was not accepted notwithstanding that the person who assessed the property was registered to assess new builds, but not registered to assess previously assessed properties. Without a valid EPC they can prosecute you for having no licence.

Your options include evicting the tenant and leaving the property vacant although you will then become liable for an enhanced Council Tax bill. You could use a person nearby to manage the property, but the Council may well still reject them if they don't have a vested interest in the property or are a regulated letting agent.

I would recommend that you see if there is a landlord group local to Tower Hamlets and seek local advice. Ignoring the problem is definitely not a good idea !

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M Rob 9th December, 2021 @ 15:22

Birmingham City Council are in the 'We've made our decision but are allowing you to have your say that we will totally ignore' stage where they plan to charge £670 for a 5 year period. Apparently the consultation started in October but I only found out yesterday via a leaflet dropped through my letterbox (how kind of them). Consultation ends on the 4th of January 2022. If there are any landlords from Birmingham reading this, take action now and tell the council to stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

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ChrisX 20th July, 2022 @ 12:33

My property is not in great condition, my LL is greedy with the rent. But when I got the letter from the council and I learnt they charge a fee, Immediately considered this flawed. Did no one have the fore sight to realise that this fee will obviously be passed on to tenants? So its effectively now a letting tax in poor areas that will be paid by the poorest tenants in the country, I contacted my council and said will LHA rates be boosted on these areas to cover the fee, and of course the answer was no, they tried to explain the LL wont pass it on, they seem to be in cloud cuckoo land. :( In my area the fee is over a grand. So £1000 split over 5 years, roughly about an extra £17 a month in rent, then the reference requirement, who will they accept as references? Pain in the backside and also potential extra costs from it. My LL vouched for me on my passport, maybe he can be my reference eh?


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Carolyn Hucker 25th September, 2022 @ 13:31

I'm struggling to see how the terms of the licence are imposed. If a tenant is anti-social and causes problems for other residents, what benefit is the licence? Are anti-social tenants meant to be evicted and does the licence help the landlord do that? What if they aren't evicted though the landlord knows they are anti-social? Is the landlord penalised? Do they lose the licence? Shouldn't eviction happen, or the landlord get penalised, whether there is a licence or not? If a landlord's licence is withdrawn does the tenant get evicted even if they are a decent tenant and the landlord is at fault?

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Jessie Jones 26th September, 2022 @ 09:26

Caroline, each scheme is different, but the licence is of no benefit to the landlord nor the tenant. It is simply a revenue raising exercise by councils, of which 80% disappears on admin and 20% goes on enforcement. Most prosecutions against landlords are for failing to have a licence, and very few for actually having an unfit property.
Having a licence will be of zero benefit if you have an antisocial tenant. Depending on the scheme you must have in place your own written policy which you should follow. Drafting such a policy is probably valueless as there are too many variables to consider, such as the nature of the behaviour, the level of the behaviour, the frequency, the vulnerability of any victims, the mental health of the tenant, the effect on the greater community, the availability and quality of any evidence. Even if the Police take action against your tenant for ASB, you are unlikely to be given access to the evidence and witnesses to take your own action. You are left with the only options of warning letters and Section 21 eviction process, which looks to be on the way out anyway. The Council will not help you evict an antisocial tenant, but may well take action against you if they don't like your policy or if you don't follow it. You will have to bare the legal costs of taking an ASB tenant to Court for eviction, without any surety that you will win such a case. Failure to comply with requests by the councils come with extortionate penalties.
If a landlords licence is revoked, say if they are convicted of an unrelated fraud offence and the council does not think they are a fit and proper person to hold a licence, then the likelihood is that the tenant is indeed evicted so that the ex-landlord can sell the property.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that a licence will help you in any way. It adds additional cost for the licence itself and also for additional work that is required before they will grant a licence, such as if the council have a rule regarding the number of electrical sockets in each room, the type of door locks, type of window openings, number of wheelie bins and storage of same. All this cost is passed to the tenant by way of the cost of higher rents in the controlled area.
The way to think about licences is that they are an additional tax which is passed on to private renters. As a landlord, pay for the licence, increase the rent, keep your head below the parapet, and if you do have an ASB tenant who attracts the attention of the council, simply doff your cap to the licensing officers and do your best to appear to be on their side. They will probably be happy so long as you appear to be doing your best, whether that necessitates sending stern warning letters, or eviction.

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Carolyn Hucker 26th September, 2022 @ 12:11

Thanks, Jesse - well that's a bit of a palaver. Hopefully, at some point, someone will come up with something useful to replace this idea - maybe even something that helps landlords ditch ASB tenants quickly and cheaply if they are making life unpleasant for other local residents. Who wants to be known locally as the landlord with the crappy tenants!

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David 2nd October, 2022 @ 10:40

I have two properties in Durham area both need a license. The cost is £500 for each property. There is a discount if you’re a member of NRLA
. Unfortunately not for BLA we’re i am a member.

















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