What is the Selective Licensing Scheme in Leeds?

by on 19th March 2019

The Housing Act of 2004 enshrined in law certain powers in Sections 79, 80 and 81.

Neil Evans explains the selective licensing scheme below and how it will apply to parts of Leeds, like Beeston and Harehills, which have the highest ratio of tenanted property in the city.

This scheme wasn’t just introduced in Leeds but across the country, though local authorities were given discretion to apply it to certain districts – Harehills being one.

What are the differences between the Selective Licensing Scheme and HMO Licensing?

The same rules apply when granting a Selective Licence as with an HMO licence.

The main differences are:-

  1. “It is mandatory to take up references for a prospective tenant before letting a property subject to Selective Licensing.
  2. Unlike HMOs the licence authority does not have to consider suitability for letting or amenity standards when granting a selective licence.  However, the licence holder must still be a fit and proper person.”

Quoted from the Residential Landlords Association.

The costs vary across the country but a ballpark figure is reckoned to be £500 for a 5 year selective licence.

What does it mean in practice?

Each council  will have their own set of rules, which the landlord must meet in order to be granted a licence.

There are also certain mandatory conditions which need to be addressed, which include the following:

  • References must be demanded from persons wishing to occupy the house
  • An up-to-date valid gas safety certificate, where applicable
  • Electrical appliances and furniture (supplied under the tenancy) must be in safe condition
  • Smoke alarms must be in full working order
  • The tenant(s) must be supplied with a written statement of the terms of occupation.

Their introduction has not been without controversy with one solicitor claiming that it amounts to “persecution” of landlords – you can read more here.

What do you think of the proposed selective licensing scheme?

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