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Newport consultation

We're planning to extend the selective landlord licensing scheme in part of Newport ward. We're running a consultation to find out what residents, landlords, businesses, councillors, and other interested groups have to say.

You can view a map of the Newport scheme area or see a list of streets which are included in the 'Properties affected' section below.

What is selective landlord licensing?

The Housing Act 2004 gives councils the power to introduce selective landlord licensing (SLL) for privately rented properties in areas experiencing low housing demand or significant and persistent anti-social behaviour.

Newport is an area of low housing demand with high and persistent levels of antisocial behaviour.

Selective landlord licensing aims to improve standards of property management in the private rented sector. We can designate an area for SLL if we believes it will, when combined with other work, lead to improved social and economic conditions in the area.

An area can be designated as an SLL area for a maximum of 5 years.

All private rented properties in the designated area must be licenced. Exceptions are listed in the proposal document.

The licence contains conditions which all landlords must adhere to.

How Middlesbrough's proposed scheme will work

Properties affected

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All private rented properties located in the designated area in Newport must be licensed.

The designated area includes the following streets:

  • Albany Street
  • Aske Road
  • Athol Street
  • Bow Street
  • Cadogan Street
  • Clifton Street
  • Cobham Street
  • Colville Street
  • Craven Street
  • Diamond Road
  • Enfield Street
  • Falkland Street
  • Faraday Street
  • Finsbury Street
  • Garnet Street
  • Glebe Road
  • Gresham Road
  • Harewood Street
  • Howe Street
  • Linthorpe Road
  • Lonsdale Street
  • Lovaine Street
  • Outram Street
  • Palmer Street
  • Parliament Road
  • Peel Street
  • Pelham Street
  • Percy Street
  • Portman Street
  • Princes Road
  • Romney Street
  • Ross Street
  • Selbourne Street
  • St Aidans Street
  • Stowe Street
  • Tennyson Street
  • Union Street
  • Wentworth Street
  • Wylam Street

You can also view a map of the Newport scheme area.

A list of exceptions are listed in the proposal document.

Any properties currently licensed as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) will not need to apply for a selective landlord licence.

Licence holder

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We must be sure that the licence holder is the most appropriate person. In most cases, this is the property owner.

When deciding whether or not to grant a licence, we will:

  1. Check they're a 'fit and proper person' (more information is available in the fit and proper person section below).
  2. Make sure management arrangements for the property are satisfactory.
  3. Make sure the licence holder has satisfactory financial arrangements to be able to maintain the property. We'll carry out checks including whether we've previously carried out 'works in default' or whether the proposed licence holder has been declared bankrupt or has any county court judgments (CCJs).

Landlords must complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Basic Disclosure online via Disclosure Scotland or a similar company. Landlords with multiple properties will only need to pay this fee once, if it is the same owner and manager.

Manager / agent

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If the manager or managing agent is different from the licence holder, we must make sure they are also a 'fit and proper person'.

Fit and proper person

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We may refuse to grant a licence where the person has:

  1. Committed any offence involving fraud or other dishonesty, or violence or drugs, or any offence listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (c. 42) (offences attracting notification requirements).
  2. Practised unlawful discrimination as defined in the Equality Act 2010 on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, race, religion or belief, marital status, pregnancy, maternity, or disability in, or in connection with, the carrying on of any business
  3. Contravened any provision of the law relating to housing or landlord and tenant law.

Compliance inspections

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Once properties are licensed, we will carry out compliance inspections, which aim to cover all private rented properties in the designated area.

These will be multi-agency inspections, which will check compliance with the licence conditions, as well as providing support for tenants.

Tenancy relations

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The tenancy relations part of the scheme will involve:

  • assessing tenants' needs and identifying early intervention and prevention
  • providing direct early help to tenants
  • making referrals and follow-up to other support and health services including screening services, where necessary
  • helping to source employment or training opportunities for tenants who are currently unemployed
  • carrying out reference checks to get references from all people wanting to occupy the property using the council' free tenancy referencing service

More information

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Why introduce licensing?

Newport is experiencing major challenges associated with social and economic decline. This includes:

  • high levels of crime and antisocial behaviour
  • high levels of private rented properties and poor living conditions
  • high levels of empty properties
  • a transient population

There has been significant investment in the physical regeneration of Middlesbrough, and social regeneration is also one of our key priorities.

Although Newport may not always be recognised as the most disadvantaged area against every measure, the rate of its decline, its vulnerability in terms of crime, social isolation, and the impact of welfare reform provides a particularly compelling picture of chronic need, especially in conjunction with the apparent housing market failure. If this is not addressed, the decline could threaten the long-term stability of the area.

What are the benefits of licensing?

As part of a comprehensive programme, licensing can:

  • halt the decline of an area
  • reduce anti-social behaviour, crime, and vandalism
  • support landlords
  • improve housing and management standards for private tenants
  • benefit the wider community and businesses
  • offer long-term economic benefits

Consultation

We're running a 10-week consultation to get people's views on our plan to extend the selective landlord licensing scheme in part of Newport.

The consultation will start on 2 January 2024 at 9am. It will close on 12 March 2024 at 12pm.

Once the consultation has ended, the results will be published on this website.

How do I respond to the consultation?

We welcome comments about the proposed extension to the scheme. In particular, we welcome feedback from the following groups in Newport and the surrounding areas:

  • private rented sector tenants
  • private sector landlords
  • owner-occupiers
  • social rented tenants
  • social sector landlords
  • community groups
  • ward councillors
  • local businesses

The consultation closed on 12 March 2024 at 12pm.

If you need help, you can email licensing_consultation@middlesbrough.gov.uk or call 01642 728100.

Frequently asked questions

What is selective landlord licensing?

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Councils currently have the power to introduce selective licensing of privately rented homes in order to tackle problems in their areas, or any part or parts of them, caused by:

  • low housing demand (or if this is likely to happen)
  • a significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour
  • poor housing conditions
  • high levels of migration
  • high level of deprivation
  • high levels of crime

Selective landlord licensing aims to improve the management of properties so they have a positive impact on the area.

We know that many landlords provide decent, well-managed and well-maintained accommodation, which does not cause any problems for the local community, but poor management practices in the private rented sector can have a negative effect on the general amenity and economy of an area.

How will licensing improve the neighbourhood?

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Licensing ensures houses rented out through private landlords, or agencies, are properly managed, in good condition, and fit to live in.

We expect this to reduce the number of vacant properties in the area through building a stronger, safer community, where people choose to live, and where residents have a strong voice to tackle problems, including those in the private-rented sector.

Licences will include conditions to ensure all tenancy agreements have rules on anti-social behaviour to help landlords take action against the perpetrators.

The scheme includes a multi-agency team that provides a 'visit and support service' for tenants to address health, welfare, and social issues, to improve their quality of life and work towards greater stability for families with identified needs.

We expect that these measures will help to make a more sustainable neighbourhood.

How will selective landlord licensing benefit landlords?

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Improving a neighbourhood will benefit landlords as well as the wider community.

Selective landlord licensing will help to:

  • raise the overall management standards in the private rented sector
  • better target resources to deal with anti-social tenants
  • in the longer term, have a positive effect on rent levels and capital values

Where there is an inexperienced or 'absentee' landlord, SLL is intended to encourage the use of a reputable management agent.

These measures will encourage investment in the town and support a thriving private rented market.

What guidance and support will be offered to landlords?

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Middlesbrough Council will provide advice and guidance to landlords on the conditions they'll need to meet to get and keep a license. This includes supporting and guiding them to tackle anti-social behaviour and improve their management through training and 'hands-on' help.

How will selective landlord licensing be paid for?

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To meet the costs involved in running the selective landlord licensing scheme, we plan to charge fees of:

£998 per single occupancy household unit.

We've calculated this fee based on the cost to administer and enforce the scheme. We worked out the number of officers needed to carry out these tasks, and the time needed to complete them, and how much this would cost.

If we refuse or revoke a licence, the applicant or licence holder will not be entitled to a refund of fees, and will also have to pay any outstanding charges linked to the application.

Applications resulting from a change in ownership of a licensed property will be charged the full standard fee.

Property owners should carefully consider who is designated as the licence holder, as licences run for a maximum of 5 years and are non-transferable. If the licence holder changes for any reason, the first licence holder will need to pay the full licence fee, and the new licence holder will also need to pay the full licence fee. The new licence holder will not incur a penalty charge as long as the application form, fees, and documentation are received within three months of the change of ownership or manager.

Applications for a licence in the last 12 months of the SLL designation will be eligible for a reduced fee of 50% of the second payment, where properties have not been licensable prior to the 12 month deadline.

We will look to recoup our additional costs where landlords fail to come forward during the licensing timescales, or provide incomplete applications which require additional work from the SLL team.

Method of payment

The fee is divided into two payments. The first payment is £499, which pays for the application process. The second payment of £499 will be used for the ongoing administration and the enforcement of the legislation associated with the scheme. The second payment is only required when we've decided the landlord is fit and proper to be issued with the licence.

Is VAT payable on the licence fee?

No, VAT is not payable on the licence fee.

Can you transfer a licence?

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Licences are non-transferable, as stated in the legislation.

What sanctions can be imposed against landlords?

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Failing to apply for a licence could lead to enforcement action and an unlimited fine. It would lead to the licence holder no longer being classed as 'fit and proper'. This could mean they'd need to find someone else to hold their licence and manage the property, or dispose of the property.

What does a 'fit and proper person' mean?

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Middlesbrough Council, for the purposes of deciding whether to grant or refuse an application for a licence under section 88(3) (a) or (c) of the Housing Act 2004, will (among other things) have regard to the evidence that the person is a fit and proper person to be the licence holder or (as the case may be) the manager of the house. Middlesbrough Council will evaluate and take into account any evidence of:

  • They have committed any offence involving fraud or other dishonesty, or violence or drugs, or any offence listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (c. 42) (offences attracting notification requirements);
  • Practised unlawful discrimination as defined in the Equality Act 2010 on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, race, religion or belief, marital status, pregnancy, maternity, or disability in, or in connection with, the carrying on of any business; or
  • Contravened any provision of the law relating to housing or landlord and tenant law.

A criminal conviction or evidence of unlawful discrimination or breaches of housing or landlord and tenant law doesn't necessarily mean that a landlord won't pass the test. The council will have to look at every case individually and weigh up all the circumstances when making a decision. For example, the council will have to think about:

  • what the conviction was for;
  • the circumstances of the case;
  • how long ago it was and whether it is spent or not;
  • whether or not it will affect the person's ability to be a good landlord;
  • the risk of the same thing happening again and whether that would affect the person's duties as a licence holder.

In addition Middlesbrough Council will also examine evidence:

(a) If it shows that any person associated or formerly associated with the landlord or managing agent (whether on a personal, work or other basis) has done any of the things set out in subsection (a) to (c) above, and

(b) It appears to the council that the evidence is relevant to the question whether the landlord is a fit and proper person to be the licence holder or (as the case may be) the manager of the house.

Middlesbrough Council will consider that a person is not a fit and proper person if a banning order under section 16 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 is in force against the person.

For the purposes of the fit and proper test Middlesbrough Council will assume, unless the contrary is shown, that the person having control of the house is a more appropriate person to be the licence holder than a person not having control of it.

Middlesbrough Council in deciding for the purposes of whether the proposed management arrangements for the house are otherwise satisfactory, will have regard (among other things) to the following considerations:

  • whether any person proposed to be involved in the management of the house has a sufficient level of competence to be so involved;
  • whether any person proposed to be involved in the management of the house (other than the manager) is a fit and proper person to be so involved; and
  • whether any proposed management structures and funding arrangements are suitable.

Is there a fee for making the checks?

Landlords must complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Basic Disclosure online via Disclosure Scotland or a similar company.

Landlords with multiple properties will only need to pay this fee once, if it is the same owner and manager.

Are there conditions attached to the licence?

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The licence holder will have to satisfy a number of conditions. Breaching these licence conditions could lead to enforcement action and a fine of £5,000.

Mandatory conditions are:

  1. The licence holder must demand and obtain references using Middlesbrough Council's free tenant referencing service for all prospective occupiers before they are offered a tenancy of the house, to enable the licence holder to make an informed decision regarding occupancy of the property.
  2. Landlords must produce gas certificates.
  3. Electrical appliances must be kept safe.
  4. The property must have working carbon monoxide alarms in any room in the house which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
  5. The property must have working smoke alarms.
  6. Each tenant must be provided with a written tenancy agreement.

The council is proposing to include a number of discretionary conditions which relate to the management of the property, including general property management, security, management of anti-social behaviour, and external refuse and waste.

How long does a licence last?

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A licence will be valid for a maximum of five years.

When should I apply for a licence?

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If your property meets the criteria for a licence, you must apply for a licence as soon as the scheme begins.

If you do not apply for a licence, we may take enforcement action and you may be subject to an unlimited fine.

Do I have to apply for a licence for each property I own?

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Yes. A licence is only valid for one property.

You'll need a licence for each property you own.

Can the council refuse to license my property?

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Yes, if the property does not meet the licence conditions, or if the licence holder or their manager is not a 'fit and proper person'.

What happens if the council refuses to license my property?

If you do not bring your property up to the required standard, or you fail to meet the criteria for a 'fit and proper person', you can appoint another person to be the licence holder.

In extreme cases, if there is no chance of the property being licensed in the near future, we can apply for an interim management order (IMO). If this is granted, it will allow us to step in and manage the property for up to one year.

Can I appeal against the decision?

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You can appeal if we decide to:

  • refuse a license
  • grant a license with conditions
  • revoke a license
  • vary a license
  • refuse to vary a license

You must appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), usually within 28 days.

How will licensing help with vacant properties?

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Anti-social behaviour often deters new residents and tenants from moving into a neighbourhood. Tackling this behaviour improves the area and makes it a more attractive place to live.

Tackling anti-social behaviour will also support our plan to bring empty homes back into use and develop a more sustainable neighbourhood.

Landlords, or owners with an empty property, will be encouraged to bring their properties back into use.

Will licensing drive landlords to sell their properties and move to other areas?

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There's no evidence that implementing a selective landlord licensing scheme has had a negative impact on the private rented sector.

It can be a way to improve poorly maintained and badly managed properties, which have a negative effect on the image of the private rented sector, causing a high turnover of tenants and a lack of sustainability in the market.

Does the council intend to roll out the scheme in other areas?

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The scheme could potentially be implemented in other areas suffering similar problems to Newport, but only after a business case and consultation, and if resources are available.

How will selective landlord licensing support strategies for the area?

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We believe that selective landlord licensing offers valuable support to existing initiatives to tackle empty homes, prevent homelessness, create sustainable, high quality neighbourhoods, and reduce anti-social behaviour.  

I'm a tenant. How will this affect me?

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Selective landlord licensing would make sure your landlord is managing and maintaining your home properly. They will also be expected to act in a responsible manner. This would include carrying out tenant checks, getting the necessary gas and electrical safety tests carried out, and issuing valid tenancy agreements.

My neighbours behave anti-socially. Can selective landlord licensing help?

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We expect landlords to work with the council and police to deal with anti-social tenants in an appropriate way.

If tenants continue to act anti-socially and cause a nuisance in the area, this may include eviction.

How can I find out if my landlord has applied for a licence?

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Once we've issued a licence, the information is added to our public register, which is available on the selective landlord licensing page.