Nottingham Selective Licensing Scheme

Nottingham has seen selective licensing get unanimous backing from the council’s executive board, giving the council’s official approval. The matter now rests with the central government for final approval.

For those of you that don’t know, the selective licensing covers approximately 32,000 properties and aims to improve housing standards in the city’s Private Rented Sector (PRS). It is claimed that the scheme will raise standards of housing, reduce anti-social behaviour and tackle rogue landlords.

At Ogilvy & Sneyd we are firm believers in a high quality private rented sector and strongly support landlords who join industry bodies such as National Landlord Association. However one wonders the limitations of such a scheme. At face value, the aims are very agreeable, who would not want such issues to be addressed? However, can the scheme actually address them or will this turn out to be yet another financial attack on landlords?

The scheme claims that it will raise the standards of accommodation by driving up standards in the PRS, however, the council should be careful that this does not simply increase rents and lead to more housing being out of reach for the many in need. Landlords have already suggested an increase in rents as a reaction to the recent tax changes, may this have a similar outcome?

It also seems that the many are being punished for the few; it’s a common misconception that every landlord provides low-quality housing, this was proven in a recent survey, carried out by home let, when 84% of stated they were happy in their property. Similarly, not one landlord we deal with provides subpar housing and all are very conscious to provide quality housing and meet all regulations. It’s not surprising that we do not manage properties owned by “rogue” landlords, in fact, I would be very surprised to hear any agent say the contrary. This is because agents more often than not will refuse to represent a “rogue” landlord. Most agents are members of professional bodies that insist properties are managed in line with all legislation. The “rogue” landlords work in the shadows and I fear are unlikely to join the scheme due to their nature and will be troublesome to catch. 

There are many schemes such as The National Landlord Association that have been improving the PRS for many years now and it seems that these, whose members are many, have been potentially overlooked. Only landlords who are accredited with DASH or Unipol get a discount on the licence. If all councils took this standpoint on licensing, then landlords would have to be accredited with numerous different “localised” industry bodies, rather than just one national and recognised body.

Ogilvy & Sneyd wholeheartedly supports any plans to improve housing stock in Nottingham and make sure that the PRS works for both landlords and tenants alike.