Selective Licensing (South Bank) 2019
A Cabinet decision made on the 10 December 2018 by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council acting as local housing authority in exercise of its powers under Section 80 of the Housing Act 2004 has designated South Bank (older housing area) (the area) for selective licensing. A copy of the designation notice can be found in the 'Related Document' menu on the right hand side of the page.
This scheme has been introduced following the success of the initial scheme which operated between 2013 and 2018
The new designation was made on 20 December 2018 and comes into force on 25 March 2019.
The designation will have effect until 24 March 2024 unless it is revoked by the Council before then.
Private landlords who own property in the area or any person that controls or manages property in the area will be required to apply for a licence from 26 March 2019.
What is Selective Licensing?
The Housing Act 2004 allows local authorities to introduce licensing of private rented properties where a neighbourhood is experiencing poor property conditions, an influx of migration, a high level of deprivation or high levels of crime, low housing demand and significant anti-social behaviour and determines that the introduction of the licensing scheme will make a positive impact on the neighbourhood.
The aim of Selective Licensing is to improve the management of privately rented these properties to ensure they have a positive impact on the area.
Whilst we acknowledge that many landlords provide decent well-managed and maintained accommodation, which does not cause any problems for the local community, we also recognise that there are poor management practices within the private rented sector which are having a negative effect on the general amenity and economy of the area.
Benefits of Selective Licensing
An evaluation of the South Bank 2013-2018 licensing scheme was undertaken to assess the impact of selective licensing and to determine whether a further designation of a scheme should be made. The following criteria were used to assess the schemes impact:
1. Reduction in the number of empty properties;
2. Reduction in the incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity;
3. Improvement in the condition of the properties;
4. Improvement to the management of the properties; and,
5. Housing Demand
Number of empty properties – There has been a 29% reduction in the number of empty properties. Of the 66 empty residential properties at the beginning of the scheme only 15 of these remain empty, a number of which were in a poor state of disrepair and have been refurbished during the lifetime of the scheme. However, during the lifetime of the scheme new properties have become empty. There are currently 47 empty properties, 19 fewer than in 2013.
Anti-social behaviour & criminal activity- A reduction of 7.3% in anti-social behaviour has been seen in the scheme area over the last 5 years. In addition, the number of criminal offences fell by 36.5%, with acts of criminal damage falling by 52.4% and there was also a reduction in the number of incidents of deliberate fire setting.
Property Condition – The scheme has helped to improve the condition of the properties. 10% of the properties inspected during the lifetime of the scheme were found to suffer from Category 1 hazards as defined by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, this is below the national average of 13.2%. Over half of the hazards identified have been resolved without the need for any formal intervention.
Property Management - The introduction of licensing has established clear lines of communication with the person responsible for the management of the property. The improved access to landlords has resulted in quicker resolution of complaints and has been of benefit when dealing with anti-social behaviour issues from licenced properties.
Housing Demand – The value of residential properties in the selective licensing area is much lower than the rest of Redcar and Cleveland and lower than the average across Teesside. Completed house sales in the selective licensing area increased by 7.2% over the scheme lifetime, whilst prices increased by an average of 26% across the whole of the borough.
In summary, all of the five indicators showed a positive outcome, although the increase in property values was lower than was experienced in the rest of the borough.
This would be to the advantage of all stakeholders within and those just outside of the scheme area; residents of any tenure, businesses, landlords and letting agents, public service providers and community groups. As well as sustaining control of the private rented accommodation which was introduced during the 2013-2018 scheme.
A further Selective Licensing scheme will continue to help strengthen property management standards, housing standards and provide a key link between landlords and organisations working in the area. It will contribute towards the continued reduction in problems of anti-social behavior which in turn will contribute toward stabilising the area, increase housing demand and the reputation of the area.
The way it works
All privately rented properties that are occupied in the area would be required to be licensed, conditions are attached to each licence. Please view the below for more information.
All licences issued under the 2013- 2018 scheme are no longer valid and a new application must be made.
These conditions are monitored by the Council to ensure they were being complied with however support and guidance would be offered to licence holders where required to ensure compliance.
Where a breach of licence conditions is identified the licence holder may ultimately be prosecuted with an unlimited fine per breach.
Who needs a licence?
All private landlords with residential property within the proposed area would need to apply for a licence for each of their occupied properties. Each licence incurs a fee. Please see the Fees Structure document on the 'Related Documents' menu, on the right hand side of the page, for more information about licence fees.
Some tenancies don't need to be licensed for example those under a long lease, business tenancies, and those managed by registered providers.
Private landlords who own property in the area or any person that controls or manages property in the area will be required from 26th March 2019 to apply for a licence.
I am a tenant, how will this affect me?
Selective licensing would make sure your landlord is managing and maintaining your home, so that it is kept in a good state of repair. They will also be expected to act in a responsible manner. This would include carrying out tenant vetting, issuing valid tenancy agreements and securing deposits in one of the governments nominated schemes. If you believe your landlord is not maintaining your property or is treating you unfairly, please contact the Housing Standards Team tel: 01287 612455 or contact the team by email.
My neighbours act anti-socially. Can selective licensing help?
Landlords are expected to work with the local authority and police to deal with anti-social tenants in an appropriate way. This may include eviction, if tenants continue to act anti-socially and cause a nuisance in the area. If you have concerns related to anti social behaviour please contact the Housing Standards Team.
How can I find out if my landlord has applied for a licence?
Once the council has received an application for a licence, the information will be entered onto a public register which would be accessed via the council.
What will happen if my landlord does not apply for a licence?
It will be a criminal offence to operate without a licence. On conviction a landlord could be fined which is unlimited. In addition there is a provision under section 96 of the Housing Act 2004 for a Rent Repayment Order to be made to recover all rent paid to an unlicensed property.
What Consultation has taken place?
The initial designation of the older housing area of South Bank as a Selective Licensing area ended in late October 2018. The views of all residents, landlords and stakeholders who lived or operated within the designated 2013-2018 area were consulted about how successful they felt this scheme had been in contributing towards improving the area and to find out what issues concern people most. The consultation with local residents, landlords, local businesses and any other organisation with an interest in the area ran for a number of weeks giving everyone time to share their views. The findings of the review were used to help the Council decide what further actions needed to be taken, including the a further designation for selective licensing.
A link to the summary of the consultation responses can be found in the 'Related Documents' menu on the right hand side of the page.
Should you require any further information or guidance related to Selective Licensing please contact the team by email or contact:
Housing Standards Team
Tel - 01287 612455