What is Selective Licensing?
The private rented sector has doubled in size since 2002 and now houses 19% of households. Alongside this growth, some local authorities have noted an increase in the prevalence of problems such as anti-social behaviour, poor property conditions, low housing demand and elevated levels of crime, deprivation and migration in areas containing high concentrations of privately rented properties. The Housing Act 2004 introduced selective licensing to give these authorities an additional tool to help tackle these problems
Local authorities can designate an area for selective licensing for five years. Subject to limited exemptions, a valid licence must be held by the appropriate responsible person in respect of all privately rented properties in such a designated area, typically the landlord or managing agent. Licences contain conditions with which the applicant must comply over the life of the designation. Local authorities inspect properties in the area and enforce compliance with the conditions of the licence. The licence requires payment of a fee, one part of which covers processing of the application and the remainder supports the associated enforcement scheme. As of the 1st of January 2019, 44 local authorities reported operating one or more such schemes. 4 local authorities operate schemes that cover 100% of the local area.