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Selective landlord licensing consultation

Selective landlord licensing (SLL) aims to improve standards of property management in the private rented sector. SLL is used in in areas of low housing demand and / or significant and persistent anti-social behaviour. Newport ward is an area of low housing demand, with high and persistent levels of antisocial behaviour.

We can designate an SLL area if we believe it will, combined with other measures, lead to improved social and economic conditions in the area.

All privately-rented properties in the SLL area must be licensed, although there are some exceptions. You can find out more in the proposal document. The licence will contain conditions that all landlords must adhere to. An area can be designated as a SLL area for a maximum of 5 years.

SLL is already running in part of the Newport ward. We are now proposing to extend the area of Newport ward which is covered by selective landlord licensing. You can see the streets which will be covered by the extended scheme on the Newport area map (PDF). If you're struggling to view the PDF, you can find a list of streets in the 'Which streets will be included?' section below.

You can see a map and a list of streets which are currently covered on the selective landlord licensing page.

How the scheme works

Properties affected

All privately-rented properties located in the Newport SLL area will need to be licensed.

Any properties currently licensed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) will not need to apply for a SLL licence. You can check the proposal document for a full list of exemptions.

Licence holder

We must be sure that the most appropriate person holds the licence. In most cases, this is the property owner. When we're deciding whether or not to grant a licence, we will check:

  • whether the proposed licence holder is a 'fit and proper person' (see the section below)
  • that management arrangements for the property are satisfactory
  • that the licence holder has satisfactory financial arrangements to be able to maintain the property - checks will include whether we have previously carried out 'works in default', or whether the proposed licence holder has been declared bankrupt or has any county court judgements

Manager / agent

We must also make sure that the manager or managing agent (if they are different from the licence holder) is also a 'fit and proper person' (see the section below).

Fit and proper person

We may refuse to grant a licence if someone has:

  • committed any offence involving fraud or other dishonesty, violence, drugs, or any offence listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (c. 42) (offences attracting notification requirements)
  • committed 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
  • broken any laws relating to housing or landlord and tenant law

Compliance inspections

Once properties are licensed, we will be carrying out compliance inspections, which aim to cover all private rented properties in the SLL area. These will be multi-agency inspections, which will check that landlords and properties are meeting the licence conditions, as well as supporting tenants through 'tenancy relations'.

Tenancy relations

Tenancy relations involves:

  • assessing tenants' needs and looking for opportunities for early intervention and prevention
  • providing direct early help to tenants
  • making referrals and follow-ups to other support and health services including screening services, where needed
  • helping to find employment or training opportunities for unemployed tenants
  • carrying out reference checks on everyone who wants to live in the property, using our free tenancy referencing service

Why introduce licensing?

Newport is experiencing major challenges associated with social and economic decline. These include:

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

While Newport may not always be recognised as the most disadvantaged area against every statistical measure, the rate of its decline, and its vulnerability in terms of crime, social isolation, and the impact of welfare reform, are leading to chronic need, especially when combined with the apparent failure of the housing market. This decline could threaten the long-term stability of the area if it isn't addressed. Both physical and social regeneration are our key priorities, and selective landlord licensing helps to support this.

What are the benefits of licensing?

As part of a comprehensive programme of improvements, 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

The evaulation of the North Ormesby SLL scheme has more information about the benefits of licensing.

Consultation

We're running a 10-week consultation to get people's views on the proposed extension to the selective landlord licensing scheme in Newport. You can see the streets which will be covered by the extended scheme on the Newport area map (PDF).

The consultation will run from 9am on 21 November 2022 to 12pm on 30 January 2023.

We welcome your feedback about the proposed scheme. In particular, we'd like to hear from the following people and 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

Once the consultation is closed, we'll publish the results on our website.

Taking part in the consultation

If you'd like to take part in the consultation, the easiest way is to complete the online SLL questionnaire.

If you're struggling with the online questionnaire, you can download a copy of the questionnaire to fill in. You can then hand in your completed questionnaire at the reception desks at Streets Ahead on Parliament Road or Newport Hub on Union Street.

You can also have your say by calling us on 01642 728100 or emailing licensing_consultation@middlesbrough.gov.uk. You can also use those details to contact us if you have any questions or you're struggling to view the documents on the page.

Frequently asked questions

What is selective landlord licensing?

The Housing Act 2004 gives councils the power to introduce the licensing of private rented homes, within a designated area, where it is or is likely to become:

  • an area of low housing demand
    and / or
  • an area which is experiencing a significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour

The aim of selective landlord licensing is to improve the management of these properties so that they have a positive impact on the area. Whilst it is acknowledged that many landlords provide decent well-managed and maintained accommodation, which does not cause any problems for the local community, it is recognised that poor management practices within the private rented sector can have a negative effect on the general amenity and economy of an area.

How will licensing improve the neighbourhood?

Licensing will ensure houses rented out through private landlords, or agencies, are properly managed, in good condition, and are fit to live in. This is expected to result in a reduction in 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 assist landlords in taking action against the perpetrators. The scheme will include a multi-agency team that provides a 'visit and support service' for tenants to address health, welfare, and social issues to improve the quality of life and work towards greater stability for families with identified needs. It is anticipated that these measures will help to make a more sustainable neighbourhood.

How will selective landlord licensing benefit landlords?

An improving 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 targeting resources to deal with anti-social tenants; and, in the longer term, will have a positive effect on rent levels and capital values. Where there is an inexperienced, or 'absentee' landlord, the scheme 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?

We will provide advice and guidance to landlords on the conditions they will need to meet to secure and retain a license, which will include supporting and guiding them to tackle anti-social behaviour and improve their management through training and 'hands on' help.

Which streets will be included?

You can see the streets which will be covered by the extended scheme on the Newport area map (PDF).

If you're struggling to view the PDF, here are a list of the streets:

  • Ayresome Street
  • Ayresome Green Lane
  • Beaufort Street
  • Bowley walk
  • Calthorpe Court
  • Carey Close
  • Carlow Street
  • Charlie Woods Way
  • Chester Street
  • Costa Street
  • Crescent Road
  • Derwent Street
  • Donegal Terrace
  • Eshwood Square
  • Essex Street
  • Fallows Court
  • Faverdale Close
  • Fleetham Street
  • Foxheads Court
  • Garrett Walk
  • Gough Close
  • Greta Street
  • Harford Street
  • Hornby Close
  • Howard Street
  • Ketton Row
  • Ketton Way
  • Kildare Street
  • Lamport Street
  • Laycock Street
  • Lees Road
  • Leinster Road
  • Leven Street
  • Linthorpe Road
  • Longford Street
  • Lorne Street
  • Meath Street
  • Mills Street
  • Neesham Road
  • Newport Road
  • Newport Terrace
  • Nugent Avenue
  • Orwell Street
  • Oxford Street
  • Petch Close
  • Salisbury Court
  • Southwell Court
  • St Albans Court
  • St Paul's Road
  • Surrey Street
  • Tear Close
  • Union Court
  • Victoria Street
  • Warwick Street
  • Waterford Terrace
  • Wembley Street
  • Wesley Row
  • Wicklow Street
  • Worcester Street

You can see a map and a list of streets which are currently covered on the selective landlord licensing page.

How will selective landlord licensing be paid for?

We have the power to charge landlords a fee for processing their application for a licence, which includes the administrative processes, property inspections, and pursuing and monitoring compliance with condition throughout the five year licensing period. We propose a standard fee of £836 for a maximum of five years single occupancy licence.

The revenue generated can only be used for the selective licensing scheme, and not for any other project.

Method of payment

This fee is divided into two payments. The second will only become payable when we decide that the landlord is a fit and proper person to be issued with the licence. The first charge of £418 + £20 will be used to administer the application and fit and proper process. The second charge of £418 will be used for ongoing administration, and enforcement of the legislation associated with the scheme.

VAT is not payable on the licence fee.

Can you transfer a licence?

As stated in legislation, licences are non-transferable.

What sanctions can be imposed against landlords?

Failing to apply for a licence could lead to prosecution and an unlimited fine. If prosecuted, this would lead to the licence holder no longer being classed as a 'fit and proper person' (see below). This could mean they would 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?

We will carry out checks to make sure that the person applying for the licence, and the person managing the property (if they are different from the licence holder), is a 'fit and proper person' and has satisfactory management arrangements in place, including anti-social behaviour management. In deciding whether the landlord / managing agent has the necessary arrangements in place, we will check whether they have:

  • committed any offence involving fraud or other dishonesty, violence, drugs, or any offence listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (c. 42) (offences attracting notification requirements)
  • committed 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
  • broken any laws relating to housing or landlord and tenant law

If we have any concerns, the applicant would be required, as part of the licence conditions, to apply for a basic disclosure certificate, which contains information about every conviction the applicant has, or states that there are no such convictions.

Is there a fee for making the checks?

We will charge £20 per person to cover the costs of carrying out the fit and proper person checks. Applicants will only be required to pay this fee once, even if they own multiple properties. Licence holder who have different managers or managing agents for different properties will need to pay the fee for each of the managers.

Are there conditions attached to the licence?

There will be a number of conditions attached the licence. Some are set out in the Housing Act 2004, and some are prescribed by Middlesbrough Council. Breaching the licence conditions could lead to prosecution and a fine of £5,000 per breach. Mandatory conditions are that:

  1. The landlord must use our free tenancy referencing service to get references for everyone who wants to live in the property.
  2. Landlords must provide 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.

We also propose to include a number of discretionary conditions relating to the management of the property, including:

  • ensuring the number of occupiers do not cause overcrowding in the property
  • supplying an Energy Performance Certificate
  • having a suitable anti-social behaviour plan in place

How long does a licence last?

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

When should I apply for a licence?

Owners of properties which meet the criteria need to apply for a licence as soon as the scheme begins. Failing to apply for a licence could lead to prosecution and an unlimited fine.

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

Yes. A licence will only be valid for one property. You will need a licence for each property.

Can the council refuse to license my property?

Yes. If the property does not meet the conditions we've set out and / or if the licence holder or manager is not a 'fit and proper person'.

What will happen if the council refuses to license my property?

If a landlord fails to bring a property up to the required standard, or fails to meet the 'fit and proper person' criteria, they can appoint another person to be the licence holder.

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

Can I appeal against the decision not to license my property?

You may 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?

Antisocial behaviour often deters new residents and tenants from moving into the neighbourhood but tackling this behaviour improves the area and makes it a more attractive place to live. In addition, tackling antisocial behaviour will 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 it drive landlords to sell their properties and move to other areas?

There is no evidence that implementing a selective landlord licensing scheme has had a negative impact on the private rented sector. Selective landlord licensing has been seen as 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?

The scheme could potentially be implemented in other areas which suffer similar problems, but only subject to a business case, consultation, and available resources.

How will selective landlord licensing support strategies for the area?

We believe that selective landlord licensing will offer 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?

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

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

Landlords are expected to work with the council and police to deal with anti-social tenants in an appropriate way. This may include eviction, if tenants continue to act anti-socially and cause a nuisance in the area.

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

Once we have issued a licence, the information will be entered onto a public register, which is available via our website.