Implementation of a selective licensing scheme in the South Beach area
The South Beach area was designated as a selective licensing area on Wednesday 14th December 2011 and the designation will take effect from March 14th 2012 and last until March 13th 2017 unless revoked by the council before then.
A copy of the legal designation notice can be viewed in the publications section of this page
1. What is Selective licensing and who does it apply to?
Selective Licensing is a regulatory tool provided by section 80 of the Housing Act 2004 and allows local housing authorities to designate areas suffering from either significant and persistent anti-social behaviour and/or low housing demand for selective licensing; a designation can only be in force in a designated area for a maximum of 5 years.
Blackpool Council is proposing to designate the South Beach area due to significant and persistent anti-social behaviour in the area. For a full description of the proposed area see below and the evidence set out in the document below evidences how bad the problem is and why the Council is proposing this course of action in order to combat serious anti social behaviour.
By making the designation all privately rented properties in the area (excluding “tied” accommodation that is linked to the job the person is doing; see later for a full list) will be required to apply for a licence and will need to nominate either themselves, another owner or managing agent to be the licence holder.
Landlords will require a licence for any properties that they rent out within a designated area and the licence will contain a series of conditions that the licence holder will be required to comply with. These conditions relate to the management of the property, fire safety and anti-social behaviour; a full list of the proposed conditions can be downloaded from the publications list on the right hand side of this page. There will also be a requirement that landlords both carry out checks on any potential new tenants and provide references for tenants that move on from their properties. Landlords or their agents will also have to prove that they are “fit and proper persons” in order to hold a licence.
We recognise that the private rented sector is a vital part of the housing market and that most landlords try to provide decent well managed accommodation. A major focus of our proposal is to bring in a resource that will positively work with landlords in order to help them combat these problems and fully advise them on the options they can take. The Council wants to form positive partnerships with landlords to overcome the current problems seen in the South Beach area and help to improve the area in which local people live and work.
Those landlords however who manage their properties poorly tarnish the good reputation of others by allowing tenants to cause anti-social behaviour and/or by letting their properties without checking their tenants’ past tenancy record and without proper vetting; this can carry on with people moving from one property to another and repeating this behaviour.
The attached document fully details the reasons why the council is designating the South Beach area for selective licensing.
2. What is the designated area?
The South Beach area runs from Chapel Street in the north to Balmoral Road in the south and with the west and east boundaries being the Promenade and Seasiders Way. By clicking on the link above you can see a map of the area and you can also find a full list of the streets in the area in the “publications” box to your right. The designated selective licensing area is the area within the orange line. The council is intending to submit proposals to implement selective licensing in other areas of the borough following the implementation of selective licensing in the South Beach area.
3. Why are we introducing selective Licensing?
As mentioned above the Council is implementing a selective licensing scheme in the area due to a “significant and persistent” problem caused by anti-social behaviour and that “some or all private landlords in the area are not taking appropriate action to combat the problem that it would be appropriate for them to take; and that the making of the designation, when combined with other measures taken by the Local Housing Authority (LHA) or by the LHA in conjunction with others, will lead to a reduction in, or elimination of the problem.” (Definition from the Housing Act 2004)
Detailed evidence on the reasons for the designation is set out in the submission document including research carried out by the Council, the Police and Fire Brigade evidencing that anti-social behaviour criminality and incidents of deliberate fires are some of the worst both in Blackpool, Lancashire and the North West with other linked problems of transience, ill health and poverty being some of the worst nationally.
4. How do I apply and pay for a licence?
All landlords or their nominated agents will be required to apply for a licence for any properties that they rent out within the designated area. Details of how to apply are set out below and copies of the downloadable application form and fee sheet can be found under the "Publications" heading to the side of this page. An online application is also available.
Landlords will need to complete the application form, pay a fee and submit supporting documentation relating to the property. These are:
The Council will then consider if it is appropriate to issue the licence to the applicant by assessing the following:
- Evidence of a permanent residential address, date of birth and likeness (photo) of the proposed licence holder (copies only)
- Evidence of a permanent residential address, date of birth and likeness (photo) of a manager/managing agent if different to the proposed licence holder (copies only)
- Copy of current landlord's Gas Safety Certificate
- If leaseholder a copy of the current lease
- Copy of a current Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosure
- Copy of the written action plan outlining procedures for dealing with anti social behaviour at the property (please ask the Housing Licensing team for advice on this)
What else must a landlord or managing agent do?
- Whether the applicant/manager is a “fit and proper person(s)”. As a part of this, the application process requires that any relevant criminal convictions are disclosed on the application form in addition to details of any previous poor compliance. If there is any uncertainty about this then the Council may ask the applicant to obtain a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosure
- Whether the person applying is the most appropriate person to hold the licence
- Whether the applicant/manager has satisfactory procedures for dealing with anti-social behaviour caused by tenants in their property
- Whether the applicant/manager is able to demonstrate satisfactory management competency, arrangements and procedures
- Whether the applicant/manager is able to demonstrate satisfactory financial arrangements
What properties need to be licensed?
- Submit a complete application and pay the licence fee
- Ensure that any furniture rented within the property complies with all relevant fire regulations
- Ensure that any electrical appliances rented within the property and electrical installations are safe
- Install and maintain smoke alarms as necessary
- Issue tenants with a written tenancy agreement including procedures for tackling anti-social behaviour
- Take “reasonable and practicable” steps to prevent or reduce anti-social behaviour
- Carry out repairs and other legal responsibilities within a reasonable time
- Any other matters which the Council considers appropriate and necessary
All privately rented properties in the selected area will be required to be licensed, including flats and houses in single or multiple occupation. It makes no difference whether the rent for the property is paid via the Council or direct to a tenant. There are certain exemptions which include:
a) how do I apply?
- Tenancies with a registered social landlord or local authority
- Holiday lets
- HMOs already licensed under the HMO mandatory licensing scheme
- Tenancies under a long lease
- Business tenancies
- Properties already subject to a management order or empty dwelling management order
Applications can be made as follows:
b) how do I pay?
- Download an application form from the Council website
- Complete an online application
- Request a copy by email to email@example.com
- Call in to the Housing Licensing office at Progress House to request an application pack
- Online via the Council website quoting the ESB reference number you will receive by post from us (This will be available soon)
- Telephone Customer First on 01253 477477
Once we have received your application we will work out the correct fee for you including any discounts or penalties that may be applicable. We will then invoice you for this amount and this invoice must be paid before a licence can be issued to you. Please quote the ESB reference number given to you on the invoice when paying and in all correspondence with us.
PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY WITH YOUR APPLICATION AS YOU WILL BE INVOICED FOR THE CORRECT FEE ONCE YOUR APPLICATION HAS BEEN PROCESSED
In order to qualify for the early bird discount please make sure that you have sent us a fully completed application form and all relevant documentation by 14th June 2012.
5. How much will it cost me?
Fees for operating the scheme have been calculated based on staff hours to manage the scheme as a whole including the provision of a dedicated support to landlords. Local Authorities’ fees must only cover the cost of running the scheme and cannot be set at a level which will allow them to make a profit from operating the scheme. To meet these costs the following fees will be charged:
£670 for a property occupied by one household £935 for a property occupied by up to five dwellings and £60 for each additional dwelling above five
This fee will normally be for the full 5 year period, but if on inspection any serious faults are uncovered such as Category 1 Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) hazards, or other serious problems such as a series of anti-social tenants, then the Council may stipulate conditions that need to be put right over a shorter specified period.
Following that if the problems are still outstanding then the Council can revoke the landlord’s licence or re inspect the property and re licence it for the balance of the 5 year period.
There will also be discounts for members of the Fylde Coast Landlords Accreditation Scheme (15% 0f the fee) and for early payment of the fee of £100 as well as penalties for late payment of £100 and where landlords do not voluntarily come forward to pay the fee and have to be found by the council’s officers. Finally for incomplete applications a fee of £180 will be charged. Full fee details can be found on the fee sheet under "Publications".
Where a breach of licence conditions is identified the licence holder may ultimately be prosecuted with a fine of up to £5,000 per breach. Failing to apply for a licence could lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £20,000 and 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.
6. What benefits will there be from the implementation of a selective licensing scheme?
Selective Licensing provides the council with the powers to regulate the private rented sector, but for it to succeed in our goals of reducing anti social behaviour and to improve the overall management and standards of property in order to make an impact on the area as a whole it is important that we work with landlords in order to learn from their good practice and experiences and help to support them in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for the community as a whole.
It is expected that introducing such a scheme will have a number of benefits to the community, landlords, tenants and owners, both directly and indirectly.
Expected benefits include:
7. How do I find out more?
- Reduced levels of anti social behaviour
- Improved management and condition of privately rented accommodation
- Support for landlords in dealing with anti social tenants
- Education for tenants in their responsibilities to behave in a tenant like manner
- Education for tenants to ensure they only live in properties that meet a minimum standard
- Promotion of the landlord accreditation scheme and the aspiration to let property to a higher standard and to act in a professional manner with well written tenancy agreements, inventories and protected deposits
- Encouragement of landlords not to take tenants with a poor reference
- Improvement of the image and desirability of the area
- Encouragement in the market to increase rents and values of property in the area
- Encouraging a change to the tenure mix of the area
For further information you should read the Submission Document in the publications information on the right hand side of this page.
The consultation period has now ended and we would like to thank all who took time to give us their view and to fill in a questionnaire. In total over 750 people did so,
8. What will happen next?
On December 14th 2011 the Council's Executive approved the designation of the South Beach area and this will become effective on March 14th 2012.
The Council cannot start the licensing process until March 14th 2012, but must use this time to publicise the scheme and make sure that landlords and managing agents in particular are fully aware of the implications of the scheme and their responsibilities.
Both landlords, managing agents and residents within the area will receive more information about the scheme during this period as well as regular updates appearing on the website.
The Council will continue to work with both the Fylde Coast Landlords Forum and individual landlords and managing agents to ensure that they are involved throughout this process.