We wanted to answer some of your questions around our plans to introduce a
landlord licensing scheme to Portsmouth.
What is selective licensing?
Sections 79, 80 and 81 of the Housing Act 2004 provided for the introduction of a scheme of selective licensing of private landlords in a local housing authority’s area. This means that all private landlords in a designated geographic area have to apply to the local authority for a licence to rent out residential property. If that person fails in their responsibilities as a landlord the licence can be revoked meaning they can no longer rent out properties in the area.
Aren’t some local landlords already licensed by the council?
Landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s) are currently required to be licensed by the council under a scheme known as mandatory licensing. What selective licensing does is extend that requirement to landlords of all privately rented properties in the area.
Has selective licensing been implemented elsewhere?
Yes – 12% of local authorities are considering or have implemented selective licensing with successful schemes operating in places such as Liverpool, Croydon and Waltham Forest.
Will a selective licensing scheme help protect against bad tenants/neighbours?
Yes – requiring references from prospective tenants is a mandatory condition of any selective licensing scheme. This is likely to reduce anti-social behaviour and other tenancy issues.
Won’t bad landlords just refuse to register?
Possibly – but the enforcement measures are robust. Any landlord found to have failed to comply with a requirement to register one of their properties will be subject to a substantial fine and/or summary conviction. Newham has initiated prosecutions against 1,306 criminal landlords since their scheme was introduced six years ago.
How will it be funded?
Selective licensing schemes are designed to be self-financing with licence fees set at a rate sufficient to cover the administration of the scheme. This will mean employing a whole new team of private sector housing officers with little/no impact on the general fund/Council Tax.
Will it result in rent increases?
Across the several dozen council areas where selective licensing has been implemented there is little evidence of substantial rent increases as a result. Remember that rents are determined by the market; the demand side factors will remain the same limiting the ability of any landlord to increase prices above the going rate.
How can I help the campaign?
1. Sign the petition below and then share it with your friends and family.
2. Contact your local ward councillors asking them to support the proposals when they’re put to the vote.
3. Attend the lobby outside the Full Council meeting where the plans will be discussed: 1.30pm in Guildhall Square on Tuesday 16th July.