Nottingham City Council is introducing a new licensing scheme, which will mean landlords in most areas of the city will have to obtain a licence for each property they rent out to ensure it meets safety and quality standards.
Additional licensing applies to HMOs, shared houses and flats that have 3 or 4 occupants who form 2 or more households.
Section 257 HMOs are no longer included in additional licensing, however the individual flats within them will need a selective license if privately rented
A licence will last up to 5 years and one licence will be required for each private rented property – not each landlord. Landlords and property managers (person receiving the rent) need to apply for a licence, not tenants.
This handbook has been created to help guide landlords and letting agents through the Selective Licensing process.
Why is Selective Licensing needed?
The council has collected evidence which suggests that too many people in Nottingham are paying rent on private properties which are not safe or of a decent standard. In this video, Steve Matthews, Principal Environmental Health Officer, describes common problems with conditions in private rented properties and how Selective Licensing will help to drive up standards.
When will it start?
The scheme will come into force on 1 August 2018, but we are aiming to accept applications from the beginning July 2018.
It is the responsibility of the person who has control of the property (usually the person who receives the rent for the property) to apply to the council for a licence. This can be the owner or manager.
You will need the following before applying
Proof of right to reside (to live) in the UK
Proof of right to live in the UK for the proposed licence holder and the proposed manager where these are people; if the proposed licence holder or manager is a company then this will not need to be provided. Click here to find out what we accept
Gas Safety Certificate
A valid, in date, satisfactory certificate is required if gas appliances are in the property. More information can be found on the following link: www.gassaferegister.co.uk
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property
To find out about an EPC and how to get one please go to www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/energy-performance-certificates
Evidence of landlord insurance for the property – this includes public liability insurance
If this is not provided it will be added as a licence condition.
You may also need to provide the following if relevant
- Emergency Escape Lighting Test Certificate (if this is present in the property)
- Fire Alarm Test Certificate where there is a fire alarm control panel
- Most recent portable appliance test (PAT) certificate (If portable appliances are provided by the landlords)
- Building regulations completion certificate and planning consents (If applicable)
- Evidence of relevant training (if undertaken) by proposed licence holder
- Written Fire Safety Risk Assessment (If applicable)
- Evidence of relevant training (if undertaken) - for example the DASH online Landlord Development course or EMPO Professional Training for Property Professionals
We have prepared a number of draft example licences to show the questions that are on the online application form. These can be downloaded below.
If you are in the process of selling your property and it falls within the designated area you can apply for a temporary exemption notice (TEN)
You can only make an application if you are the owner or person in control of the property.
A temporary exemption notice lasts for three months. You can renew for an extra three months in special circumstances. If the property still needs a licence after this period of time, you must apply for a property licence straight away.
For more information on temporary exemptions please view the document below.
The new Selective Licensing scheme does not cover all areas of the city. It’s estimated to cover over 30,000 privately rented homes in a designated area. It's really important that you check if your property is in a designated area.
Some properties, such as those managed by Housing Associations and Nottingham City Homes properties are exempt from licensing.
Licences will cost landlords with Nottingham Standard accreditation £480 or £780 if you haven’t got accreditation.
Fees and Discounts
Table 2: Fees for Selective Licensing
A number of property owners already deliver good quality and well managed homes and have gained Nottingham Standard accreditation via DASH or UNIPOL. We cannot exempt them from the scheme, but because this makes the task of licensing these properties easier, we have offered a discount for those accredited.
To receive the discount, landlords who have tenanted properties needed to already be accredited via the Nottingham Standard, or have applied to become accredited before 31 July 2018. Landlords are still encouraged to apply for the “Nottingham Standard” and the many benefits it brings via DASH or Unipol, but after this date they won’t be able to benefit from a discount on the licence fee.
Landlords will need to have become FULLY accredited by the time the second payment for licensing is taken.
The Council believes that the fee should not lead to landlords increasing rent. The Council recognises that some landlords may choose to do this. The Council has worked hard to offer lower fees to accredited landlords, with savings of £300 on the licence applications fee. If landlords do increase rents, this should be following the correct, legal procedures and should not exploit this opportunity. Income from the licence fees goes towards the cost of setting up, operating and delivering the schemes. The Council is not permitted to make a profit from the scheme.
From 1 August 2018 it will be against the law for any landlord to rent out a property in designated Selective Licencing areas without a licence. We will work with other partner agencies across Nottingham to find unlicensed properties and take legal action.
- Selective Licensing FAQs Updated 28.06.18
- Final Licence Conditions June 2018
- Nottingham Integrated Housing Stock Modelling Report
- Landlords Good Practice Guide
- ASB Guidance for Landlords
- Public Notice for Designation of an Area for Selective Licensing
- Selective Licencing- How to Guide
- Civil Penalties Enforcement Guidance
- Housing Enforcement and Compliance Policy & Guidance
- Public Register of licences
- Temporary Exemption Request Form
The Building Research Establishment Private Sector Housing stock survey for the City of Nottingham is now available on Nottingham insight and can be accessed here.
Following legal advice, where there is genuine difficulty for landlords in being able to submit an application in time due to the number of properties, the council is proposing to allow landlords with more than 30 properties and agents with more than 120 properties to apply over 3 months.
This is only in agreement with the council and is subject to the council receiving a full list of the all properties and timescales of when the applications will be submitted. Anything other than this will be considered only in exceptional circumstances on a case by case basis.
People in Nottingham have a right to expect a decent and safe standard of private rented accommodation. The new selective licensing scheme aims to raise housing standards in the private rented sector to provide quality housing for all.
Why the Scheme is needed
Evidence suggests that too many people in Nottingham are paying rent on private properties that are not safe or of a decent standard. A report by the Building Research Establishment (Sept 2016) estimated that 21% of Nottingham’s private rented properties are likely to have ‘Category 1’ hazards including exposed wiring, dangerous boilers, cold bedrooms, leaking roofs, mould or vermin infestation. The full report can be downloaded here.
Landlords who do not apply for a licence or do not meet the required standards may be putting tenants' safety and long term health and wellbeing at risk.
What will it mean for me, if I rent a property in the area enforced by the licence?
- Selective licensing will improve the management of privately rented properties and contribute positively to improving neighbourhoods
- Properties may be inspected at some point during the five year scheme. The Council will notify tenants in writing before it does this. The landlord may be required to make improvements to the property after this inspection
- Homes should be kept safe, secure and in a good state of repair. Tenants may see economic benefits, for example reduced heating bills as house maintenance and conditions improve
- The scheme will also help protect vulnerable groups of tenants, who often live in private rented homes, which are poorly managed and maintained
Will the scheme mean landlords will increase rents?
The licence fee will cost landlords £480 if they have Nottingham Standard accreditation and £780 if they haven’t got accreditation. Licences last up to 5 years.
The Council believes that the fee should not lead to landlords increasing rent. The Council recognises however that some landlords may choose to do this. The Council has worked hard to offer lower fees to accredited landlords, with savings of £300 on the licence applications fee. If landlords do increase rents, this should be following the correct, legal procedures and should not exploit this opportunity.
Income from the licence fees goes towards the cost of setting up, operating and delivering the schemes. The Council is not permitted to make a profit from the scheme.
When will it start?
The scheme will officially start on 1 August 2018, but we will be accepting applications from landlords from the beginning of July 2018.
Where does the money from the licence fee go?
Income from licence fees goes towards the cost of setting up, operating and enforcing the scheme. The Council is not permitted to make a profit from the scheme.
How can I check if a property is included in the licensing scheme?
The scheme covers 90% of rented properties in the city. To find out more and check if a property falls within the licence scheme area, please visit: geoserver.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/myproperty/
If you rent a property, which is within the area covered, ask your landlord if they know about the scheme.
It is a legal requirement for landlords to apply for a licence. Failure to do so can lead to financial penalties of up to £30,000 or unlimited fines if prosecuted through the courts.
Where to go for further help and advice
If you have concerns about how a landlord or agent is managing a rented property, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessing this information
If you need help to understand this information or if you require any of this information in an alternative format e.g. large print, please contact us at email@example.com.
If you require any help with you application please contact the team
Telephone: 0115 876 1331
We are committed to ensuring our services are fully accessible to our citizens and will therefore accept completed paper applications.
If you require a paper application please telephone the team for further information.
At scheme start date 1 August 2018 the council had received 7,379 applications. However, taking into account applications expected from those with a genuine difficulty (e.g. landlords and managing agents with large portfolios), in applying it should bring the total to 15,000 by 1 November 2018.
In accordance with section 1(1) of the Act the council has a duty to confirm whether it holds the information of the description specified in the request, and if that is the case, to have the information communicated to the requester.
The council have reviewed your request carefully, the information you have requested is not held in a reportable format. In order to answer this part of your request, individual records would need to be interrogated. It has been estimated the manual investigation, retrieval and extraction of this information would exceed the appropriate limit. As per Regulation 4(3) of the Fees Regulations, when estimating the cost of compliance, the council can take into account the cost of the following activities:
- determining whether the council hold the information
- finding the requested information, or records containing the information
- retrieving the information or records
- extracting the requested information from records
The total expected numbers of licences forecast to be issued over the five year period of the Selective Licensing Scheme is 24,000. In order to answer this part of your request the records for each property would need to be interrogated to identify the landlord and managing agent who currently owns the property and then cross reference this with the prosecution data collated to respond to question 4 of your request. As per our response to question 1 at the start of the Selective Licensing Scheme on 1 August 2018 the council had received 7,379 applications. If it took a conservative estimate of half a minute to extract the landlord or managing agents name and cross reference it with the prosecution data it would equate to over 61 hours work to interrogate the applications received as of 1 August 2018. It has therefore been estimated the activity to answer question 2 of your request would significantly exceed the appropriate limit. Therefore on this occasion, the council has decided to exempt itself from complying with this part of your request as the cost incurred in providing a response would exceed the appropriate limit of £450, which is equivalent to requests that would require more than 2.5 days' continuous work.
The council is withholding the requested information as detailed above under section 12(1) of the Act. Please accept this letter as a partial refusal notice issued in accordance with section 17 of the Act.
In accordance with section 16(1) of the Act, the council has a duty to provide advice and assistance to you, as far as it is reasonable to do so. The council can advise of the 11 prosecutions in total between 2016-2018 detailed in response to question 4, 4 of the prosecutions were for failure to license properties, although the council is unable to identify how many of these landlords currently have a licensed property within the Selective Licensing designation.
2016/17 - 672
2017/18 – 1098
There were 11 prosecutions in total between 2016-2018 with fines totalling £68,887.
You are free to use any information supplied for your own personal use. However, any other type of re-use, for example, by publishing the information or issuing copies to the public will require the permission of the copyright owner. If the copyright is owned by Nottingham City Council details of the conditions on re-use can be obtained by contacting this office.
If you are unhappy with the response provided or with the handling of your request, you can ask for an internal review by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to the Information Governance Specialist, Freedom of Information Team, Legal & Governance, 2nd Floor, Loxley House, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3NG by stating the reasons for your dissatisfaction. Your request for an internal review should be made to the council within forty working days of the date of this letter. Please quote reference IG-11179 in all communications.
If you remain unhappy after receiving the response to your initial complaint you can request an independent review from the Information Commissioner's Office at FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution, Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. You may also contact the Information Commissioner's Office by telephone on 01625 545745
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