Government acts to restrict borough wide licensing

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 -

The government have introduced new rules to stop council’s from introducing borough wide selective licensing schemes.

On 26 March 2015, Lord Tariq Ahmed of Wimbledon signed a general approval to restrict councils’ ability to implement large selective licensing schemes.

Under the general approval, new selective licensing schemes can only be introduced if selective licensing does not exceed 20% of the council’s geographical area and does not affect more than 20% of private rented homes within the council’s area based on census data. Proposed schemes that exceed the ’20 / 20 rule’ cannot be introduced without Secretary of State approval and guidance has been issued to councils outlining how to apply (available here).

The general approval also reiterates the need to consult with people likely to be affected by a selective or additional licensing scheme for a minimum of 10 weeks – this had been a requirement from the previous general approval in 2010, but now revoked.

Borough wide selective licensing schemes in Liverpool, Waltham Forest and Croydon will not be affected as the schemes had already been approved. In London, the biggest impact may be on Redbridge Council, which recently consulted on borough wide selective and additional licensing.

The Housing Act 2004: Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Selective Licensing of other Residential Accommodation (England) General Approval 2015 can be viewed in full here.