William Eichler 20 June 2018

Whitehall launches selective licensing review

The Government has announced it is launching a review into selective licensing to find out how well it is working.

Selective licensing gives local housing authorities the power to make it compulsory for landlords renting out private accommodation in a specified area to have a licence.

The intention behind the scheme is to deliver improved standards and safety in the private rented sector by enabling councils to assess whether they consider a potential landlord to be ‘fit or proper’.

The local authority is also able to make other stipulations concerning management of the property and appropriate safety measures.

The review, the findings of which will be published next spring, has been launched alongside the publication of new guidance for landlords.

Last month it was announced that from 1 October 2018 any landlord who lets a property to five or more people – from two or more separate households – must be licensed by their local housing authority.

The move, which is likely to affect 160,000 houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), will mean councils can take further action to crack down on ‘rogue’ landlords.

The new guidance includes details on extending mandatory licensing to smaller HMOs and introducing minimum bedroom sizes.

‘Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live,’ said housing minister Heather Wheeler MP.

‘Today’s new guidance for landlords will further protect private renters against bad and overcrowded conditions and poor management practice.’

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