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Largest landlord licensing scheme outside of London approved

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The largest selective licensing scheme outside of London has been approved by housing and communities secretary Sajid Javid.

Nottingham City Council’s scheme is set to cover more than 30,000 properties owned by private landlords in certain parts of the city.

This comes after a report by the BRE (Building Research Establishment) group estimated that 21% of Nottingham’s private rented properties are likely to have ‘Category 1 hazards’. Examples of this type of hazard could include exposed wiring, a dangerous boiler, cold bedrooms, a leaking roof, mould on walls or ceilings and vermin infestation.

The council said a selective licensing scheme, which requires private landlords to pay for a licence for each property that they let within a designated area, will help ensure these issues are addressed. Enforcement officers can take action when licensed properties are managed poorly or are identified as the source of anti-social behaviour.

Legislation passed ahead of the 2015 general election means councils now need to get the communities secretary’s approval when selective licensing scheme proposals cover more than 20% of a borough’s geographical area, or if they affect more than 20% of privately rented homes within their boundaries.

Money raised through the scheme will help to cover the cost and the Council hopes to be able to introduce the scheme from summer this year. Between now and the scheme coming into effect, landlords should find out if it will affect them and what they should do to prepare for this. Over 90% of privately rented houses and flats – around 31,000 properties – are estimated to benefit from this scheme.

Jane Urquhart (Lab), Nottingham’s portfolio holder for planning, housing & heritage, said she was “pleased” the scheme had gained government approval.

“This is a major step forward in improving living standards for many city residents,” she said.

The proposed cost of the licence scheme is to be confirmed and is subject to final approval by the city council’s executive board. However, the council said it “is likely to be less than £2 per week, per property for accredited landlords and no more than £3 a week for non-accredited landlords”.

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