Birmingham’s Selective Licensing Scheme

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Birmingham City Council has approved a proposal to introduce a selective licensing scheme covering 25 wards of the city, aimed at improving housing standards and reducing anti-social behaviour in the private rented sector.

Below is James Laurence’s guide to assist our landlords to the upcoming changes.

What is Selective Licensing?
Selective Licensing is a scheme that requires private landlords to obtain a license from their local council, demonstrating that their properties meet certain standards of management and safety. The scheme is designed to improve the standards of rented accommodation and to reduce anti-social behaviour in the area.

Birmingham City Council’s Selective Licensing Scheme
Birmingham City Council’s scheme will require all private landlords in the designated 25 wards to obtain a license for each property they rent out. The scheme will commence on 5 June 2023, and landlords will be able to apply for a license from 22 May 2023 (subject to change).

Why is the scheme being introduced?
The scheme is being introduced to improve housing standards and reduce anti-social behaviour in the private rented sector. It is aimed at tackling issues such as poor property management, overcrowding, and housing-related crime.

Enforcement of the scheme
From 4 September 2023, the council will start looking for properties where a license application has not been submitted, and these will be considered as unlicensed. The council will take enforcement action where appropriate, including the issuance of fixed penalty notices, prosecution, and in some cases, the closure of the property.

Benefits of the scheme for landlords
Although the introduction of the scheme may seem like a burden for landlords, there are benefits to complying with the licensing requirements. Licensed landlords will be able to demonstrate that their properties meet certain standards, which can help to attract tenants and potentially increase rental income. The scheme will also help to raise the overall standards of rented accommodation in the area, which can lead to a reduction in anti-social behaviour.

The designated wards
The Selective Licensing Scheme will cover 25 wards in Birmingham. These include Aston, Bordesley Green, Handsworth Wood, Lozells and
East Handsworth, and Nechells, among others. A full list of the designated wards is available on the Birmingham City Council website.

Licensing requirements
To obtain a license under the scheme, landlords must demonstrate that their properties meet certain standards, including those related to fire safety, gas and electrical safety, and energy efficiency. Landlords will also need to demonstrate that they have effective management arrangements in place and that they are taking steps to prevent anti-social behaviour. The cost of a license will be £700.00 per property for five years.

Landlord responsibilities
Under the scheme, licensed landlords will be required to meet a range of ongoing responsibilities. These include ensuring that their properties meet the required standards, maintaining accurate records, and notifying the council of any changes to the property or tenancy. Landlords will also need to respond promptly to any requests for information from the council and cooperate fully with any inspections or investigations. Failure to meet these responsibilities may result in enforcement action, including the revocation of the license.

Impact on tenants
While the Selective Licensing Scheme is primarily aimed at improving standards in the private rented sector, it may also have implications for tenants. For example, tenants may be required to provide information to the council as part of the licensing process, and their properties may be subject to inspection. However, the scheme is ultimately designed to benefit tenants by improving the quality of rented accommodation and reducing anti-social behaviour. Licensed landlords are more likely to provide safe and well-maintained properties, which can contribute to a better quality of life for tenants.

Getting help and advice
If you are a landlord affected by the Selective Licensing Scheme, there is a range of support and advice available to help you comply with the requirements.The council has published detailed guidance on the scheme, including information on the licensing process, standards that must be met, and ongoing responsibilities. There are also a number of trade associations and professional bodies that can offer guidance and support to landlords. These include the National Landlords Association, the Residential Landlords Association, and the Chartered Institute of Housing.

James Laurence Estate Agents can assist you!

For further information, contact:

Henry Crane
Associate Director of James Laurence Estate Agents
Telephone: 0121 604 4060
Email: [email protected]

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