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Important Licensing Changes for Leeds Landlords

January 2, 2020 | Landlord News  

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What is Selective Licensing?

Under the Housing Act 2004, local authorities have the power to introduce selective licensing of certain areas. Selecting Licensing is a way to help councils deal with rogue landlords and to help improve the way private rented houses are managed, making sure that tenants can have safe and comfortable homes. After its Executive Board meeting in June 2019, Leeds City Council gave its approval to designate parts of Beeston and Harehills for Selective Licensing, with effect from 6 January 2020.

What does it mean?

It means that as of 6th January 2020, any private landlord will require a licence to rent out their property within the designated area or risk a hefty penalty.  It is an offence for Landlords to let a property without a licence and doing so could face an unlimited fine or a civil penalty of up to £30,000. You may also be prohibited from holding a license in future.

The Government is also releasing funds to the Yorkshire region to create a team of property inspectors, to drive out Rogue landlords in the area. The Council aims to inspect all licensed properties within each designated area to check if licence conditions are being complied with and provide support to landlords and tenants with any issues they’re facing.

How do I know if my property is affected?

The areas include Beeston, Holbeck, Hunslet and Riverside as well as the Gipton, Harehills, Richmond Hill and Burmantofts wards. For a full list of the designations in each area, the Leeds City Council website has two PDF’s showing a full list of roads and a boundary-lined map of the exact areas:

Full Designation for Beeston

Full Designation for Harehills

In addition, they have released the following useful information containing frequently asked questions:
https://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/FAQ’s%20Final%20for%20website.pdf

There is also a handy checker on the online application page to help determine if your property is affected:
https://www.leeds.gov.uk/housing/information-for-landlords/selective-licensing

What if I already have an HMO licence?

As we reported last year, it is now mandatory for all HMO’s to have a license. The good news is, if you already have one in place then you will be exempt from needing another license. Other properties that are exempt and don’t require a license include: holiday lets; business premises; socially let properties; student premises where the university is the landlord; premises where the tenant is a family member; as well as any property where the landlord already holds an HMO licence.

When will it happen?

The Designation came in on 6th January 2020 and will remain in force for a period of five years unless the scheme is revoked earlier by the Council.

What do Landlords need to do?

Firstly, you should check to see if your property is within the new designated area and if it is subject to the new licensing requirements. Secondly, you should check if you already have an HMO License in place. If your property is in the designated area, and you do not have an HMO license, then come October 2019 you will need to apply for a license. The easiest way to do this is online, or if we manage your tenancy for you, we can help you with the paperwork upon request.

How much does it cost?

The fee for a Selective Licence is £825 per property. The licence fee will be charged in two parts: £425 on making the application and a further £400, payable if the application is successful. The first part of the licence fee (£495) is non-refundable.

How do I apply for a Selective License?

Applications can be made and paid for online via the Leeds City Council website. It also has a handy checker to help you check if your property needs a selective license and guidance on how to apply. Alternatively, applications can be made on a paper application form which can also be downloaded the website. Click here for the link to apply: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/housing/information-for-landlords/selective-licensing

Keeping up with changing rules and regulations is one of the hardest and most complex aspects of being a Landlord, which is why there is a huge benefit to partnering with a fully regulated and experienced letting agent to help navigate the legislation.

Using an agent to manage your Tenancies will ensure you are doing things by the book and avoid fines and penalties, so get in touch today to discuss how we can help.

This article was originally published in August 2019. The licensing laws are now in effect and the links in this article have been updated accordingly.

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