Selective Licensing Scheme- Hexthorpe 2022 - 2027

On the 15th November 2021, the Council designated an area of Hexthorpe to be an area for Selective Licensing. The new Selective Licensing Scheme came into force on the 1st March 2022. A copy of the designation and a map of the designated area are published on this page.

The licensing scheme is primarily intended to tackle the identified issue with anti-social behaviour in Hexthorpe, which evidence shows to be directly related to the private rented sector. It will also help to provide a greater choice of safe, good quality and well managed accommodation.

Prior to the designation coming into force the Council complied with the statutory consultation and publication requirements. 

Designation

The designated area of Hexthorpe, as defined on the map link above, is an area for selective licensing for a period of 5 years which commenced on the 1st March 2022. From the 1st March 2022, all private rented properties within the defined area, subject to statutory exemptions, must be licensed. 

What is Selective Licensing?

A Selective Licence means that all landlords with any privately rented properties in a selected area will need a licence for these properties. Selective Licensing can be introduced if the Council is satisfied that the selected area has at least one of the following issues:
  • low demand (or is likely to become such an area)
  • significant or persistent problems caused by anti-social behaviour
  • poor property conditions
  • high levels of immigration
  • high levels of deprivation
  • high levels of crime
Introducing a Selective Licensing scheme will help to improve the identified issues. All privately rented properties within the proposed areas would need a Selective Licence.

Why introduce Selective Licensing?

The 2018-2019 English Housing Survey reports that the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has doubled in size since the 1990’s, with one in five homes now privately rented, however the proportion of households in the PRS remains unchanged for the sixth year in a row, hovering around 20%.  Analysis of recent data shows that the number of private rented properties in Hexthorpe is almost double the national average with closer to two in five homes being privately rented.

Privately rented housing in Hexthorpe makes up a significant proportion of the areas housing stock so it is important that the properties:
  • are of a good standard
  • are well managed 
We hope that introducing Selective Licensing will help to address significant and persistent anti-social behaviour directly associated with the private rented sector. As a consequence of this, we hope to achieve improved property conditions and to improve the quality of the neighbourhood, to support safe, inclusive and cohesive communities.

Why was there a gap between the end of the 2015-2020 scheme and the new scheme?

Following a review of the 2015 -2020 scheme it was proposed to designate the area for a further 5 years. 

The new designation is a marked changed from the previous scheme. It was planned that there would be a short break between the designations to afford the Council opportunity to raise awareness of the new scheme’s requirements and provide guidance so that landlords and agents can prepare to be compliant from the point that they make their application. The coincidence in timing of the end of the previous scheme and the COVID-19 crisis was such that such a break between the schemes was of particular benefit to all parties and accords with the spirit of government guidance and a request from a landlord association regarding future schemes.

Licence fees & refunds

We consulted widely on the proposed fee structure and noted the representations made to offer a discount for membership of a relevant recognised body.

We consider the fees to be reasonable and not excessive. The fees are based on an estimate of the actual cost of the scheme, divided by the number of properties estimated to be licensed. We have used our experience from operating previous schemes to inform our fee setting process.  The fees will be subject to review in accordance with the Council’s usual fee setting process.

The fee is made up of 2 parts.

Part 1 - £200 Application fee  (the cost of processing the licence application); and 

Part 2 - £400 (pro-rata) Grant fee (the compliance monitoring/enforcement costs of the licence) Part 2 of the licence fee only becomes due if we determine that it is appropriate to grant the licence. 

All licences will be issued on a pro-rata basis (full years only), dependent on the application date and the date when the house becomes licensable. If a landlord required a licence after the start date of the scheme, the cost for the Part 2 Fee will be reduced annually on a sliding scale. Part 1 of the fee will remain the same whenever the application is made as this is a fixed fee to reflect the cost of processing the application.

Application in year 1 fee - £200 + £400 = £600 total

Application in year 2 fee - £200 + £320 = £520 total

Application in year 3 fee - £200 + £240 = £440 total

Application in year 4 fee - £200 + £160 = £360 total

Application in year 5 fee - £200 + £80 = £280 total 

An additional fee of £50 applies where resources have been deployed to tackle an unlicensed property and/or where applications are received over 3 months after the date the property was required to be licensed. 

As part of the licensing scheme, we recognise that we cannot charge fees for matters such as:

  • A licence variation after the licence has been granted
  • A licence revocation
  • Issuing a Temporary Exemption Notice

Further we consider that it is equitable to re-fund landlords who request their licences be revoked on the basis that there will be no on-going requirement to carry out compliance monitoring on their property. Re-funds shall be provided on a pro-rata basis (full years only) as follows:

Exit year 1 = £320

Exit year 2= £240

Exit year 3 = £160

Exit year 4 = £80

Exit year 5 = Nil

In most cases, the Part 1 application fee is non-refundable.  If it is established that at the time a fee was paid that the house was not required to be licensed, any fee paid will be refunded.

As part of this consultation we considered:

  1. The ability to pay the Part 2 licence fee on a “pay as you go” basis e.g. a pro-rata monthly/annual fee for the duration of the licence rather than a one off non-refundable fee when the licence is granted.
  2. A reduced licence fee for membership of an approved body e.g. Landlord Association

It was established that there is no legal ability to offer any alternative to an upfront fee paid in full. We are however able to offer a £50 discount to applicants who are members of a relevant recognised body (see below).

Discount for membership of a recognised body

Where licence holders can demonstrate that they are a member of a relevant and recognised approved body (e.g. Landlord Association), a £50 discount will be applied to the Part 2 fee. The licence holder will be eligible for this discount as long as they remain a member of the eligible body.

Applications for this discount will be considered on a case by case basis and applicants should include full details of any relevant membership on their application form.

Consequences of operating without a licence (convictions, fines and rent repayment orders) 

It is a criminal offence to operate without a licence. On conviction a landlord can be given an unlimited fine. In some circumstances, the Council can issue a financial penalty instead of seeking conviction which can be up to a value of £30,000. Further, should a landlord fail to license their property, tenants have the ability to apply for a Rent Repayment Order to the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). The Tribunal can make an order for the landlord to re-pay the tenant up to 12 months rent for the period in which the offence was occurring. If the Council has evidence that a landlord has failed to licence, we may supply tenants with that evidence to support their application for an RRO. Complete the application form to commence an RRO. 

Licence conditions

Licence holders must comply with the terms and conditions of the licence. Certain conditions are required, by law, to be attached to all licences (mandatory conditions) and other conditions are attached to property licences on a case by case basis. Please find an example of the typical model licence conditions in the Downloads & Resources section below.

 Where can I obtain further information & how do I apply for a licence?

If you require any further advice or information contact us by email at Selective.Licensing@doncaster.gov.uk

Information on how to apply for a licence can be found by selecting the 'Apply for a Licence' button at the top of this page

 

 

Last updated: 16 May 2024 15:59:25

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