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How will Manchester's selective licensing scheme impact landlords?

Manchester City Council has confirmed some private landlords will need to license their properties. A selective licensing programme came into force this week. It covers the south Manchester areas of Moss Side and Rusholme.

The council have launched the scheme to drive up standards in the private rental sector. A reduction in anti-social behaviour is another target.

The new scheme follows a pilot programme in Crumpsall.

What does selective licensing mean for landlords?

The scheme means landlords must meet a set of mandatory standards. If a landlord has a property in the licensing area they must apply for a licence.

There is a fee involved though discounts are available for early sign-ups. Landlords must apply for their licence within three months of the October 2 launch date. Failure to obtain a licence can lead to financial penalties.

Once a property is registered council officials will carry out regular inspections. This is to ensure landlords comply with the terms of their licence.

What standards must landlords meet?

The main conditions are:

  • Electric and gas safety certificates must be up to date
  • All electrical appliances must be in safe working order
  • Smoke detectors must be fitted and in good working order
  • The landlord must provide the tenant with a written tenancy agreement
  • Landlords must ask for and follow up references from all tenants

Apart from the above, the council may impose other conditions if they feel there are issues with the property.

Why have the council launched the scheme?

The council are looking to introduce selective licensing to tackle social problems in some areas of the city.

There has been the concern some landlords in Manchester are not providing a safe environment for their tenants. This has led to poor housing conditions and an increase in anti-social behaviour.

Licensing will be introduced in areas which face one or more of these issues:

  • The area has such a bad reputation there is a low demand for housing
  • There are high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Rental properties are in poor condition
  • High turnover of tenants
  • There is a lack of basic amenities in properties

What are the council hoping to achieve?

By improving the conditions of private rental properties the council are hoping to reverse the issues faced by some communities in Manchester. They believe better housing will:

  • Encourage more people to live in the selective licensing area
  • Tenants will want to stay longer
  • Crime and anti-social behaviour will be reduced

What's in it for landlords?

There isn't anything in the licensing conditions which should come as a surprise to landlords. Most will be meeting the criteria anyway. And there are some benefits to owning a property in an area covered by selective licensing:

  • Properties will not stand empty increasing income for the landlord
  • Longer term tenants means secure income
  • The value of the property will increase as the area improves
  • There will less risk of damage to the property

What are they saying about selective licensing in Manchester?

Cllr Garry Bridges, Manchester City Council’s lead member for Selective Licensing, said: “Manchester’s second Selective Licensing designation follows closely from the pilot area in Crumpsall where more than 300 applications have already been received, showing a good level of compliance with the scheme, and investigations are on-going to ensure landlords apply for application for the remaining homes.

“Interestingly, around 30per cent of gas safety certificates are dated within days of the applications date, which shows that these landlords are taking the conditions of the licensing scheme seriously, and the scheme is already having an impact making tenants feel safer.

“We want to continue this success in south Manchester – and our message to bad landlords remains strong: take your responsibility seriously, or clear off.”

Landlord in Manchester

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