For a local authority to declare a selective licensing area the area must be -

  • An area of low housing demand and/or
  • An area affected by anti-social behaviour where the private landlords have failed to take steps to control anti-social behaviour by their tenants.

From April 2015 an area which contains a high proportion of properties in the private rented sector (in relation to the total number of properties in that area) can also be designated for selective licencing. This can only be done if one or more of the following conditions apply:-

  • The local authority wish to investigate a significant number of rented properties in the area to decide whether Category 1 or Category 2 hazards exist (under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System). The local authority must then inspect the property and the designation must attribute to improvement in general housing conditions in the area.
  • The area has recently experienced or is experiencing an influx of migration into it, a significant number of the private rented properties are occupied by those migrants and the designation will help preserve or improve the social and economic conditions in the area as well as ensuring that the properties are properly managed and overcrowding is prevented.
  • The area suffering from a high level of deprivation which affects a significant number of occupiers of rented properties and the designation will contribute to a reduction in the level of deprivation.
  • The area suffers from a high level of crime and the criminal activity affects rented properties or other households/businesses and the designation will contribute to a reduction at the level of crime in the area.

Whole area designation

Local authorities have been criticised for designating the whole of their areas as being subject to selective licensing. As from 1st April 2015 if a local authority intends to designate more than 20% of the geographic area or more than 20% of the privately rented properties in their area then approval will be needed from the Department for Communities and Local Government before the designation can proceed.

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