Selective licensing is provided for by Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 and is related to the licensing of HMOs. Unlike, normal HMO licensing however, it allows for the licensing of any rented property in a designated area irrespective of its HMO status. To undertake selective licensing the individual local authority must make an application for permission to the government sowing that the area is one of low housing demand or that the area is one suffering from anti-social behaviour.
Local authorities are supposed to publicise their application process and the making of a selective licensing designation but it seems that these often pass people by.
The following Local Housing Authorities are known to have gained permission for selective licensing in some or all of their areas of responsibility although they may not yet all have schemes in operation:
- Blackburn with Darwen
It should be made clear that the failure to obtain a licence for a property that is subject to selective licensing carries the same criminal and civil penalties and restrictions as would be imposed in relation to an HMO that has no licence and, indeed, a landlord in Salford has already been prosecuted and fined due to a failure to have a licence required under a selective scheme. Notably, however, the fine was relatively small at £2,500.
It is usually best to keep an eye on the LACORS website as they tend to be aware of the applications of local authorities for selective licensing consent. This is definitely something that local authorities in England and Wales are being encouraged to carry out and will probably continue to grow during the course of the year.