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Selective Licensing conditions

Article by Giles Inman on Jun 08, 2018 View in browser

Selective Licensing conditions

Where there is genuine difficulty for landlords in being able to apply in time due to the number of properties the Council is proposing to allow landlords with more than 30 properties and agents with more than 120 properties to apply over 3 months.  This is only in agreement with the Council and is subject to the Council receiving a full list of the all properties and timescales of when the applications will be submitted. Anything other than this will be considered only in exceptional circumstances on a case by case basis. 

 The Council have prepared several draft example licences to show the questions that are on the online application form. These can be reviewed HERE. The online application process goes live on the 1st July 2018

 The Council will also permit joint licence holders in the context of a landlord and agent. It should be noted the licence has to be issued to the most appropriate person, who is usually the person having control and this can be the owner and / or a manager. This would mean that the owner and manager would be jointly liable as the licence holder. However, if for whatever reason one party wanted to no longer be the licence holder, a new licence holder could not be automatically added in their place. Any new licence holder would require a new application.

*Indicates a statutory condition as prescribed by the Housing Act 2004

Licence conditions for privately rented houses

A.   Gas, Electrical and Fire Safety

Where gas is supplied to the house the licence holder shall ensure that all gas installations and appliances are in a safe condition at all times and that an annual gas safety check is carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The licence holder shall provide a copy of the gas safety certificate to all tenants/occupiers at the beginning of their tenancy and keep a written record that it has been provided.*

The licence holder shall produce the gas safety certificate issued in respect of the house within the previous 12 months for inspection within 7 days of the Council’s demand.*

Details of Gas Safe engineers can be found at www.gassaferegister.co.uk 

Safety of Electrical Appliances and Furniture

The licence holder shall ensure that electrical appliances and furniture made available by them in the house are kept in a safe condition and proper working order at all times.*

The licence holder shall ensure that a record of visual inspections and tests of such appliances is maintained and shall submit this record to the Council within 7 days of the Council’s demand.

Within 7 days of the Council’s demand, the licence holder shall supply a declaration as to the safety of electrical appliances and furniture made available by them at the house.*

Safety of Electrical Installations

The licence holder shall ensure that the electrical installations in the house are kept safe and in proper working order at all times.

Smoke Alarms / Fire Detection Systems

The licence holder must ensure that a smoke alarm is installed on each storey of the house on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation and shall keep each such alarm in proper working order.  For the purpose of this paragraph, bathrooms and lavatories are to be treated as a room used as living accommodation.*

The licence holder shall supply a declaration as to the condition and position of any smoke alarms/detectors in the property within 7 days of the Council’s demand.*

Emergency Escape Lighting

The licence holder shall ensure that any emergency escape lighting in the house is kept in proper working order at all times.

 Carbon Monoxide Alarms

The licence holder shall ensure that a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room in the house which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. Any such alarm must be kept in proper working order. For the purposes of this paragraph, bathrooms, lavatories, halls and landings are all treated as rooms used as living accommodation.*

The licence holder shall supply a declaration as to the condition and position of any carbon monoxide alarms in the property within 7 days of the Council’s demand.*

 B.   Property Management

The licence holder must ensure that all reasonable and practical steps are taken to respond to repair and maintenance issues at their property and that any works to deal with repairs are undertaken within a reasonable period of time after they are notified, and within the timescales notified to occupiers under condition 20.

The licence holder must ensure that the property is kept in repair and that the exterior of the property, its gardens, yards and other external areas are kept in a clean and tidy condition.

The licence holder shall make sure that adequate security arrangements are in place and take reasonable steps to achieve property security by complying with the requirements of paragraphs a) to f) below:

 a)    So far as reasonably possible, any emergency works necessary to protect the security of the property are undertaken within 24 hours of notification e.g. damage to windows/entrance points to the property.

 b)    The security provisions for access to the property (locks, latches, deadbolts and entry systems etc.) are maintained in good working order at all times.

 c)    Where window locks are fitted, window keys are provided to the occupant(s) of the property.

 d)    Where a burglar alarm is fitted to the house, the occupant(s) is (are) made aware of the code, how the alarm is operated and the circumstances under which the code for the alarm can be changed.

 e)    Where previous occupiers have not surrendered keys, arranging for a lock change to be undertaken, prior to new occupiers moving in.

 f)     Where alley gates are installed to the side or rear of the licensed property, taking responsibility for holding a key and making satisfactory arrangements for the occupiers’ access and egress.

 Dealing with rubbish

The licence holder shall, at the beginning of a tenancy, provide written information to the occupiers of the property indicating:

  • which day refuse collections will take place;
  • what type of bins to use for household and recycling waste;
  • details of the Council’s bulky waste collection service;
  • the occupiers’ responsibility to put bins out no earlier than 4pm on the day before collection and to return refuse containers within the boundary of the property by 8am the day after the collection;
  • that occupiers should make arrangements for any extra rubbish that cannot fit in the bins to be collected and/or disposed of as soon as is reasonably possible and ensure that such rubbish, where possible, is stored at the rear of and within the boundary of the property until collection/disposal;

The licence holder shall ensure so far as is reasonably possible that the occupiers make arrangements for the collection of waste in accordance with these provisions and, when the property is unoccupied, adhere to these provisions themselves.

The licence holder shall ensure that suitable and adequate provision for refuse storage and collection is provided at the house. This shall include a closable bin(s) of suitable capacity as specified by the Council.

Property inspections

The licence holder must ensure that the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of the property is respected. The licence holder must ensure that the tenant receives at least 24 hours’ written notice of their intention to enter the property, specifying the reason why entry is required. The only exception is when it would not be reasonable to give such notice and access is required urgently, e.g. in an emergency.

 The licence holder shall ensure that inspections of the property are carried out at least every six (6) months to identify any problems relating to the condition and management of the property. The records of such inspections shall be kept for the duration of this licence. As a minimum requirement, the records must contain a log of who carried out the inspection, the date and the time of inspection and any issues found and action(s) taken. Copies of these records must be provided within 7 days of the Council’s demand.

 C.   Tenancy management

At the beginning of a new tenancy, the licence holder must provide the occupier(s) with written information, including contact details, explaining how they can make a complaint about the property and the arrangements in place to deal with emergency and other repairs. The contact and telephone number details should enable contact between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, and should also include an out of hours contact number for use in emergencies, which could include a number with a regularly accessed voicemail facility. Any change in contact and/or telephone number details should be provided to occupiers within 24 hours of the changes being made. Copies of the written information provided to tenants must be provided within 7 days of the Council’s demand.

Where an occupier makes a complaint the licence holder shall indicate to the occupier(s) in writing how they intend to respond to the complaint including a timescale for the steps they intend to take.

The licence holder shall respond to any complaint in writing within a reasonable timescale. Copies of all correspondence relating to complaints shall be retained during the term of this licence and shall be provided to the Council within 7 days of the Council’s demand.

The licence holder must provide the tenant with an information pack containing the following details:

a)    A copy of the licence to which these conditions apply.

b)    A notice with the name, address, day time and emergency contact number of the licence holder or managing agent.

c)    Where appropriate, copies of the current gas, electrical safety and energy performance certificates.

d)    The information required by conditions 15, 20 and 24.

The licence holder shall supply to the occupiers of the house a written statement of the terms on which they occupy it (e.g. a tenancy agreement or licence). This statement shall be provided within 7 days of the occupancy beginning and the licence holder shall supply a copy of the written statement within 7 days of the Council’s demand. *
The written statement shall be clear about tenants’ responsibility for not causing anti-social behaviour and that breach of the statement’s requirements may lead to eviction.

The licence holder shall comply with all relevant landlord and tenant law and shall ensure that all legal processes are followed when requiring occupiers to leave.

The licence holder shall demand references for new occupiers before entering into any occupancy agreement with them or allowing them to occupy the premises. Where obtained, copies of these references shall be kept for the duration of this licence and made available to the Council within 7 days of the Council’s demand.*

The licence holder shall ensure there is suitable and sufficient landlord buildings insurance in place for the duration of this licence.

Where a deposit is taken, the licence holder must provide the tenant with relevant information about the deposit scheme to which it relates and any other information required under section 213 of the Housing Act 2004. This information must be provided to the Council within 7 days of the Council’s demand.

D.Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour

The licence holder shall ensure that all reasonable and practical steps are taken to prevent or reduce anti-social behaviour by the occupants of and visitors to the house. In particular:-

 a)     The licence holder shall put in place written procedures indicating how complaints made to the licence holder will be dealt with, a copy of which shall be provided to the occupiers upon commencement of their occupation and to the Council within 7 days of the Council’s demand.

b)     Where complaints of ASB or criminality are made to the licence holder, the licence holder shall investigate them and take action to resolve them. Copies of the complaint shall be kept together with notes arising during the course of the investigation and how the matter was resolved; and the licence holder must keep them for the duration of this licence. Where the licence holder has reason to believe that criminal activity is taking place at the property, the licence holder must ensure that the appropriate authorities are informed.

c)     There may be instances where anti-social behaviour occurs more than once, but not continuously and possibly intermittently over several months. In such circumstances the licence holder shall take all reasonable and practical steps to ensure that it is effectively dealt with, up to and including eviction.

An ASB guide with good practice to be completed by a licence holder can be found on the Council’s website at www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/housing/private-sector-housing/houses-in-multiple-occupation-hmo/

E.   Change of Details or Circumstances

The licence holder must inform the Council within 21 days of any material change in circumstances including:

a)     change of their address;

b)     change of manager, management arrangements or ownership;

c)      any changes to their, the manager’s or any associate’s circumstances which could affect their fit and proper person status, i.e. any cautions or convictions for any offence involving fraud, dishonesty, violence, drugs, sexual offences (under Sexual Offences Act, schedule 3) discrimination or breach of housing or landlord / tenant law or convicted of a banning order offence or issued with a banning order;

d)     any proposed changes to the layout of the house that would affect the licence or licence conditions.

 Licence holders who are accredited by a body approved by the Council shall ensure that accreditation status and / or membership of that body is maintained for the duration of this licence.

F.  Licence Holder Training

Where the licence holder has not attended relevant training in the previous 3 years, they must as a minimum attend suitable training on the law and legal requirements relating to managing privately rented housing within 12 months of the date the licence is granted. This requirement can be satisfied in one of the following ways:

a)    by attending a one-day training course or online equivalent arranged and delivered by the Council or our accreditation partners DASH Services or Unipol and submitting a certificate to the Council following this training. Visit www.dashservices.org.uk or call 01332 641111 or to arrange this;

b)    by completion of training covering law and legal requirements relating to managing privately rented housing provided by the National Landlords Association (NLA), Residential Landlords Association (RLA), National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) or East Midlands Property Owners (EMPO) and submitting the pass certificates to the Council for confirmation;

NB Full details of these training courses are coming soon.

G. Interpretation

 Where reports, certificates, declarations or other documents are required to be produced or supplied to the Council, this shall mean sending by submitting them via the online portal.

 Any reference to tenant or tenancy can also be interpreted to include occupancy by licence or other form of written agreement for the purposes of these conditions.

 Where electrical works / certificates are required they shall be carried out by a suitably qualified electrical contractor who should be registered / member of an approved scheme such as NICEIC, ECA, NAPIT etc. or registered to undertake electrical works in accordance with Part P of the Building Regulations (unless exempt works). Electrical contractors that are on a relevant competent person scheme can be found at www.competentperson.co.uk

 Failure to comply with any licence conditions may result in legal proceedings including, civil penalty or prosecution through the courts and loss of the licence and / or a banning order. Breach of a banning order can lead to imprisonment.

 Guidance information

The guidance below does not form part of the licence conditions, but you may still be under an obligation to comply with the legislation to which it refers.

Gas Safety
If gas is supplied to the house, the licence holder must ensure that the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 (or any Regulations which subsequently replace these) are complied with.

Electrical Safety
The licence holder must also ensure that the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 (or any Regulations which subsequently replace these) are complied with.

Smoke Alarms/Fire Detection Systems

Depending on the size, layout and occupancy of the property, the licence holder may need to go over and above the legal minimum required in legislation to adequately protect tenants from fire. The licence holder should have regard to the current Building Regulations and another useful guide is the LACORS Fire Safety Guide. The LACORS Guide is available at www.nottinghamCity.gov.uk/environmental-health-and-safer-housing/private-sector-housing/

Emergency Escape Lighting

The licence holder should have regard to the current Building Regulations covering emergency escape lighting. Another useful guide is the LACORS Fire Safety Guidance. This guidance is available at www.nottinghamCity.gov.uk/environmental-health-and-safer-housing/private-sector-housing/

Furniture Safety
The licence holder must ensure that the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (or any Regulations which subsequently replace these) in respect of any upholstered furniture supplied by them, including chairs, sofas, beds, upholstered head boards, mattresses, cushions, seat pads, pillows and upholstered garden furniture etc. are complied with.

Safety and Security of Property
It is recommended that licence holders work towards improving the safety and security of their property by, as a minimum, complying with the Security and Standards of HMO and Rented Properties guide, issued jointly by Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham City Council, available at www.nottinghamCity.gov.uk/HMO.

Property Management

More information about dealing with waste can be found at www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/bin-and-rubbish-collections/. Licence holders may find it useful to include this link in the documentation provided to occupiers under condition 15.

Under condition 13, when dealing with untidy gardens, the Council may also take action against the occupants under other relevant legislation and the circumstances of each case will be considered on a case by case basis.

Training
The training requirement in conditions 32 is a minimum requirement and depending on the level of responsibility and complexity of properties involved the licence holder should consider undertaking further relevant training in line with the extent of their liabilities.

Deposits
The licence holder must ensure that any deposit taken as security for a tenancy is protected as appropriate by placing it in an approved tenancy deposit scheme. The tenant must be given the prescribed information about the scheme being used within 30 days of giving the deposit.

Variations to licence
Where the licence holder or a relevant person applies to vary a licence, they should do so at the earliest opportunity. The original licence will remain in force until the point that the variation is determined, as the proposed variation may be granted or refused.

Right to rent
Only people with permission or a right to be in the UK have a right to rent property. As a landlord, you have a responsibility to restrict illegal immigrants accessing the private rented sector. If you are found letting to someone who does not have the right to be in the UK, and you cannot show that you have made right to rent checks, then you could face a penalty of £3000. For more information visit www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents 

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)
Licence holders must ensure they comply with relevant legislation, ensuring that tenants have sight of a current EPC for the property at the appropriate time. From April 2018 domestic properties in England and Wales must have an EPC certificate with a minimum E rating for energy efficiency. (2020 for tenancies agreed before April 2018)

Redress scheme
Where the licence holder is also a letting agent or property manager they must be a member of a relevant property redress scheme. More information is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/lettings-agents-and-property-managers-redress-schemes

Converting family housing to HMOs – Planning permission
Licence holders proposing to convert properties from single occupancy into HMOs should be aware that planning permission is required. More information is available at www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-applications/do-i-need-planning-permission/

To Let boards
In Nottingham, there are controls on To Let boards in certain parts of the City. More information is available at www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-applications/do-i-need-planning-permission/controls-on-to-let-ad-boards/

Electoral Registration
If you live in Nottingham City, access to certain services may be affected if you are not on the electoral register. It is a legal requirement to be on the electoral register. For more information please visit www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/about-the-council/voting-elections/register-to-vote/

 

Contact Giles Inman at EMPO for any further advice or guidance on the Selective Licensing Scheme

Tel 0755 264 2030