Appendix 10 Frequently asked questions

Is this a property licence or landlord licence?

It is the property that is licensed. A licence is issued to a named person for a named property. It is not a landlord licensing scheme.

Can the licence be in joint names?

The licence can only be issued to one named person. Joint owners would have to nominate one owner to be the licence holder.

Why is it called “Selective Licensing”?

The term comes from the Housing Act 2004. It refers to the “selection” of an area in which all private landlords must have a licence to rent out a property.

Selective licensing aims to improve the private rented market. It means property must be of a decent standard for a landlord to rent out.

I have an Mandatory HMO licence, do I need a selective licence as well?

No. A property needs either an Mandatory HMO licence or a selective licence – it doesn’t need both.

Do flats require a licence?

Flats that are let on a tenancy or licence will be covered by the Selective Licensing scheme.

Where a building contains multiple flats, then each flat will need an individual licence.

How long will the licence be issued for?

The standard selective licence will be no more than five (5) years from the date of issue and there is an option to decrease the time period to say one year for example.

If I have applied and you have not issued the licence, can I still rent or advertise the property or serve a s21?

Once the application is made, the legal duty on the landlord has been fulfilled. You can then let the property and advertise for letting. You can also serve a section 21 notice.

What about a property that is vacant and being advertised for let – can a tenancy agreement be signed and when do I apply?

You can advertise the property and sign a tenancy agreement. The application must be have been made at the point the tenant moves in.

However, a property cannot be advertised with a statement that the property “has a licence” unless an application has been made. This would be at risk of false advertising.

It is a criminal offence to rent out a property in a designated selective licensing area without a licence.

Can a non-resident UK person (overseas landlord) hold a licence?

Where property owners are registered offshore they will be expected to put in place a Managing Agent who applies for the Licence on your behalf.

The licence holder must be fit and proper and demonstrate satisfactory management arrangements exist.

The proposed licence holder must have an address in the UK at which they can receive legal notices and correspondence and must have an email address to accept electronic service of documents.

If landlords do not have a UK management agent with full control then the landlord must still legally make an application and must explain their arrangements and we will consider these arrangements.

As part of the application, we will require a statement to explain how the non-resident landlord will manage the property.

All overseas landlord applications will be decided on a case-by-case basis by an appropriate senior officer.

If a landlord resides in the UK and applies for the licence in their name, then subsequently decided to live overseas, would the license have to be transferred to the letting agent / another person?

Each case will be judged based on the available information at that time however as a general rule of thumb providing the landlord can demonstrate satisfactory management arrangements (e.g. full management agreement with agent) then the person may be able continue to hold the licence. We may for example consider varying the licence to add the managing agent details (if not already on the licence). If the landlord cannot demonstrate satisfactory management arrangements, then someone else would need to hold the licence. This would require a new licence at the standard application fee.

Can I transfer a licence if I sell the property?

No. Under the Housing Act 2004, a licence is not transferable to another person. If a landlord sells the house and the new owner decides to rent the house, the new owner must apply for their own licence.

If the agent is the licence holder and the owner of a property / landlord changes the agent, the licence cannot be transferred, and a new application will have to be made.

My property is let on a pre-1985 Housing Act tenancy – is this included?

Pre-Housing Act 1985 tenancies, such as tenancies under the Rent Act 1977 and the Housing Act 1980 fall within selective licensing.

My property is leased by North Lincolnshire – is this included?

No a tenancy/Licence managed by a Local Housing Authority is exempt but once the lease has ceased and you decide to rent the property yourself you will need to apply for a Licence.

I have a single person living in my property, do I need a licence?

Yes, If the property is occupied by a single person, or a single family on a non – exempt tenancy it will need a selective licence. For exempt tenancies see appendix 6 – list of exemptions.

I have 2 persons sharing my property, do I need a licence?

Yes, If the property is occupied by two persons on non – exempt tenancies it will need a selective licence. For exempt tenancies see appendix 6 – list of exemptions.

I am a resident landlord and share my home with one lodger, do I need a licence?

No, if you share basic amenities with your lodger in your home, where you are the owner, you do not need a licence.

I am a resident landlord and share my home with two lodgers, do I need a licence?

No, if you share basic amenities with your lodger in your home, where you are the owner, you do not need a licence.

I am required to live away for my employment. I rent my house out while away. Do I need a licence?

Yes, where the property is let on a tenancy then a licence is required. It makes no difference why you decided to rent the house out.

I rent out an annexe / self-contained flat which is part of my house. I am an owner occupier. Do I need a licence for the annexe / flat?

Yes. You do not share basic amenities (kitchen or bathroom) or living accommodation (living / dining room) with the tenant. This would not be classed as a lodger and a licence is needed.

I have a live in carer. They do not pay rent however contribute to household bills. Do I need a licence?

No, this would not be a tenancy.

How will you get landlords to apply for a licence?

We will publicise the scheme to make landlords aware of their obligations before the scheme starts.

Where applications are not forthcoming, the Council will investigate the properties we have reason to believe should be licensed. This may include an unannounced visit to the property or letters to the owners to make them aware of their obligations.

If this does not lead to an application, then failure to licence properties can lead to a prosecution or a civil (financial) penalty. It may also affect any decision regarding existing or future licences. Tenants can also apply to claim their rent back (rent repayment order) for the period the property was unlicensed, or housing benefit can be ordered to be repaid.

Can I pay the licence fee in instalments?

The licence fee will be paid in two instalments, one at application and the second in advance of the draft license being issued. No further instalments are possible.

As a landlord what are my responsibilities in relation to Anti-social Behaviour (ASB)?

Licensing is seeking to improve property conditions and reducing ASB and crime. Anti-social Behaviour can adversely impact on the local community. As a landlord you have an important role in ensuring that your property does not have a negative effect on the neighbourhood.

For example, ensuring the tenants know which days to put out waste and recycling and what can and can’t be placed in waste / recycling bins; including clauses in the tenancy about neighbourly behaviour and not causing anti-social behaviour, responding to complaints about waste and noise; co-operating with requests from the council, Police, or other authorities in response to anti-social behaviour issues. Ultimately, taking action to evict tenants in the most serious cases where issues are not resolved.

Can neighbours or tenants object to the issuing of a licence?

No. This is not part of the requirements of the Housing Act 2004. They may have information the council considers but they cannot make an objection.

Are “Holiday lets” exempted – what is meant by a holiday let?

Yes “holiday lets” are exempted.

There are different definitions of Holiday lets for the purposes of Council Tax https://www.gov.uk/government/news/changes-to-business-rates-rules-for-self-catering-properties and

HMRC : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/furnished-holiday-lettings-hs253-self-assessment-helpsheet/hs253-furnished-holiday-lettings-2021

Other restrictions may apply with holiday lets, such as planning permission and Building Control approvals.

It is advised that you make sure you have the right permissions in place and can provide evidence of this when asked or provide written confirmation that these approvals are not required. Enquiries can be made via the Planning Duty Officer Service where you should ask for written confirmation of any advice given to you. https://www.northlincs.gov.uk/planning-and-environment/planning-permission-applications-and-appeals/#

In the future the Government has plans to make changes to Planning Permission required for Holiday Lets and the Consultation details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-holiday-let-rules-to-protect-local-people-and-support-tourism

What is the requirements for smoke alarms and testing?

Under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015, there must be a smoke alarm on every storey (floor) used as living accommodation and the smoke alarms must be tested on the first day of a new tenancy.

If the alarms are reported or found to be faulty the landlord has a duty to replace / repair the alarms. Please see License Conditions and Guidance for full detail (Appendix 4 and 4 A)

How do I get the accreditation discount?

A. You must have a current accreditation with an approved scheme. Where the landlord holds the accreditation then you will need to submit a copy of the accreditation certificate with the application. The licence holder must also ensure that accreditation is held throughout the duration of the licence.

The requirement on the application to inform interested parties – when do you inform the interested party, how and who? Does it include tenants?

A relevant interested party is a person (person in law, so includes mortgage and other legal entities) and must be named on the application. You must inform them before you make the application or soon after. It only includes tenants if their tenancy or lease has a fixed term of 3 years or more.

Why do you need the licence holder Date of birth?

For identification purposes and Fit and Proper Person checks.

What’s a habitable room?

A room used as living or sleeping accommodation – basically any room that is not a kitchen or bathroom.

What happens if the number of occupants change during the 5yrs of the licence, do I need to inform the Council of the new occupancy number?

If the occupancy number increases, then we will need to be informed to ensure the accommodation is suitable. It does not matter if the occupancy number decreases. The licence gives a permitted maximum.

Payment – is there an alternative to payment by credit/debit card payment?

No but if you have difficulty meeting this method please contact Housing@northlincs.gov.uk where further discussions can take place.

Where does the money go and what is it used for?

The money can only be used to pay for the operation of the scheme. The money pays for the processing and inspecting officer, including the supporting software systems etc.

Will the Licence Holders name and address be made public and if so do I have control over the publishing of my name on the licence register?

Regulations require the name and the address of the licence holder and manager, if different, are published. You cannot ask for the information to be withheld. Address means “ the place the person is normally to be found” – that means, for a person your normal residential address or for a business, the usual place of business.

For the requirement to obtain tenant references – what is acceptable?

The requirement is to demand (ask) for references, not obtain. It is up to the landlord if the reference given is acceptable. See Appendix 4 and 4A for further details on this aspect.

I do not have access to a computer. Is there another way for me to access the consultation?

Scunthorpe Central has public access computers, as does Council Libraries and Community Hubs or use your tablet or smartphone, or ask a friend or relative to apply for the licence on your behalf.

If this is not possible, please contact us at housing@northlincs.gov.uk or telephone 01724 296051 for further advice.

These FAQs will continue to be updated with further questions and answers as we progress through the consultation phase.

If you have any comments/questions or require for information, please feel free to contact us using

Contact us on housing@northlincs.gov.uk

Or visit the following webpages for the consultation and accompanying documents – www.northlincs.gov.uk/selective-licensing