Why are we considering selective licensing?
We have introduced a revised Private Rented Sector Strategy (2020-2025) with a detailed implementation plan. This sets out the Council’s approach to the private rented sector over the next five years.
We work with teams across Community Safety, Compliance and Enforcement regularly and work with landlords in the private rented sector in dealing with complaints about anti-social behaviour, poor property management, waste issues and proactively work to remove any concerns in these areas.
However despite this we have found we do not see sustained improvements in areas unless additional interventions are introduced e.g. Selective Licensing. Enforcement against individual properties alone will not improve standards to the level required across each area.
There are approximately 88,000 private rented properties which is 38% of the total housing for the City of Manchester. There are approximately 2,000 private rented properties in the current selective licensing schemes and the proposed selective licensing schemes would affect 1,400 private rented properties.
We know that many PRS (Private Rented Sector) properties provide good quality accommodation, however there are areas of Manchester where PRS properties are not managed to a good standard. The Council has the power to introduce ‘selective licensing schemes’ in areas of Manchester. In these areas private landlords, or their managing agents, would need to have a licence for each house that they rent out.
This is done as selective licensing is a targeted approach, identifying smaller areas where selective licensing could achieve positive results and contribute solutions to the issues identified. This approach has been identified as appropriate in tackling some of the key issues facing these specific and small-scale neighbourhoods.
Manchester has previously had an accreditation scheme, and we have considered voluntary accreditation as part of our work in Manchester, however our experience is that these schemes inevitably attract landlords who are already providing a good service to their tenants and do little to engage or improve those landlords who are not.
Selective licensing ensures that;
- The proposed licence holder is fit and proper to manage their properties.
- The licence holder complies with the conditions of the licence, leading to improvements in property management and reductions in anti-social behaviour
- Property inspections can be targeted
- Requiring certification to be provided
- Unlicensed landlords can face an unlimited fines if prosecuted through the courts, or up to £30,000 if issued by the council.
To make sure that selective licensing helps to improve the social or economic conditions, we want to introduce the scheme in areas of Clayton and Openshaw, Harpurhey, Gorton and Abbey Hey. We believe that selective licensing will raise standards in the management of privately rented properties and improve the quality of houses. In turn this will:
- make more people want to live in the area
- make people want to stay in the area for longer
- cut the length of time houses are empty — increasing the rental income for landlords
- increase property values as the area improves
- reduce crime and antisocial behaviour.