Thousands of landlords affected by licensing scheme delays

Landlords must now have a licence to rent their property within designated Nottingham City Council areas, following the launch of a selective licensing scheme on 1 August. The scheme affects around 32,000 buy to let and shared homes, but so far less than one fifth of those homes have been granted a licence and fewer than half have applied for one. Those landlords who have not submitted an application already may now be liable for a £30,000 fine.

Nottingham City Council has 76 staff working to clear a backlog of applications. With 13,450 received so far, 5,993 have been completed and 2,457 returned to landlords because of errors in the paperwork.

That leaves nearly 19,000 houses in multiple occupation (HMO) and buy to let properties yet to file an application.

The East Midlands Property Owners Group, with 600 landlord members in the city, said: “The reality is the council is sinking in paperwork.

“We are now over three months into this scheme and they have only a half of the applications in and are still trawling through them. There have been a lot of rejections and a lot of people phoning us up. Everyone is fed up with the whole thing.”

A licence costs £480 for accredited landlords or £780 for those without accreditation.

Renting out a private home in the city is illegal without a licence, leaving thousands of landlords at risk of fines of up to £30,000 and other penalties.

“We have a 76-strong team specifically for administering and enforcing selective licencing, paid for through the fees, including everyone from admin support officers to environmental health officers, enforcement officers and senior managers,” said a council spokesman.

“We received approval for selective licensing from the government in April and had three months to launch the scheme. There was always going to be a bulge in applications at this stage of the process which will even out over time, when officers can then turn their attention more to enforcement.”

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