In this month’s column, Sarah Coates-Madden discusses how this affects private landlords in the designated areas…
I’ve heard private landlords now need licences to rent properties in certain parts of Sheffield. Is this true?
A couple of weeks ago, the local media reported that a selective licencing scheme was being introduced in the areas around Chesterfield Road, Abbeydale Road and London Road.
It is in response to the terrible conditions found in some rental properties, which were putting lives at risk from serious health and safety and fire regulation failings.
The story highlighted the plight of some tenants, who were the victims of modern-day slavery. Although these are extreme cases and the housing officer quoted was quick to point out most landlords around here are law-abiding, something needed to be done to improve the situation.
Sheffield City Council officially designated London/Abbeydale/Chesterfield Road as a selective licencing area on July 2 and the scheme will come into force on November 1. The restrictions will last for five years, unless the local authority sees fit to revoke them earlier.
Selective licencing is running in many cities across the country. Landlords affected have to pay a fee and meet certain criteria, demonstrating they are fit to be renting out their property, which is then subject to required standards and inspections.
For example, you must show you have no criminal convictions that may affect your role and satisfactory arrangements are in place to deal with maintenance issues and problems, such as rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
Whilst onerous for landlords – you have to apply and pay for a separate licence for every property in the designated area – the introduction of this scheme is expected to have widespread benefits for the local community, ensuring all private rental accommodation is safe and well managed.
Landlords who fail to secure a licence by the November deadline or breach the conditions of the scheme, face unlimited fines and the refusal or withdrawal of their permit.Regardless of whether your property is in a selective licence area or not, there are an increasing number of legal obligations by which all landlords must comply. These include:
- Right to Rent identity and immigration checks
- Deposit protection and prescribed information
- Provision of a gas safety certificate, How to Rent leaflet and EPC at the start of a tenancy
- Basic repairs covered by the Landlord and Tenancy Act 1985 and the terms of your contract
- Retaliatory eviction guidelines
- Compliance with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System
- Legal procedures for serving notices and gaining possession via the courts
To find out more about the rules and regulations governing residential tenancies, don’t hesitate to contact me on (0114) 218 4000 or email email@example.com