The council's new Licensing Scheme aims to improve living standards of tenants across the city. (Picture credit: Nottingham City Council)

Nottingham City Council’s new Selective Licensing scheme is set to drive up living standards for tenants – but landlords have been told not to raise rent to cover the fees.

The discretionary licensing scheme, set to commence from August 1, requires all landlords to license any privately rented property within a designated area across the city.

The council expects the scheme to produce major benefits, such as: a further reduction in crime and antisocial behaviour, higher standards of accommodation in the privately rented sector, improved health and wellbeing of tenants and a reduction in high levels of deprivation.

Councillor Toby Neal, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Human Resources, said: “People renting privately have a right to expect a decent standard of accommodation.

“Many of the 45,000 plus privately rented properties in the city are well-managed but, as part of the first scheme we still find properties that are to a very poor standard.

“Homes with damp and mould, homes with no smoke alarms or hot water or heating; so there is more work to be done.”

The new scheme has been met with a mixed reaction from some of the local landlords.

Davinder Gosal, a private landlord, said: “Selective licensing won’t really affect us, except for the extra cost in obtaining it, as we have always gone by the book and ensured we had gas and electric certificates etcetera.

“I think it is a good thing as it get rid of rogue landlords who are failing to meet the proper criteria.”

Nottingham City Council does not believe landlords will need to increase tenants’ rent to cover the cost of the five year licence application, which would be payable in two parts.

It is estimated that for non-accredited landlords the total payment per property is £820, split into two payments of £340 and £480.

“increase my costs and you will increase the tenants’ rents by the same amount, cost of living or not.”

Leon Coy, Nottingham landlord

In a statement, the council said: “Most landlords in the city, who already have a housing licence, would be aware of licensing, so a new licence should be factored into their business plan and any previous increase in rents that they may have made, should cover a new licence fee.” 

However, some landlords are against the introduction of the new scheme, as they believe their tenants will suffer at the expense of improper landlords.

Leon Coy, a landlord in Nottingham, said: “They [Nottingham City Council] wondered why rent significantly increased last time the licensing was introduced, even after being told the cost would be passed to tenants.

“Well guess what, increase my costs and you will increase the tenants’ rents by the same amount, cost of living or not.

“If the tenants can’t afford it, [they will be] evicted and replaced with those that can.”

It is a legal requirement for landlords to apply for a licence, and is a criminal offence if a landlord fails to do so.

The council can issue a financial penalty of up to £30,000, or if prosecuted through the courts it could lead to an unlimited fine.