Preparing for the Nottingham Landlord Licensing
As a landlord, there are more things to consider than just the condition of the property and how you engage with your tenant. There are many administrative tasks involved in the process and landlords must ensure that they comply with all regulations regarding the property and their ability to act as a landlord. Given that these regulations are updated on a regular basis, it is essential that professionals in the letting industry remain fully informed about the requirements they need to meet.
This is why a number of landlords are keen to know as much as they can about the licencing situation for Nottingham landlords. In July of 2017, the local council approved the new licence scheme and the matter is currently being reviewed by the Secretary of State. If approved, the scheme will come into force from April of 2018.
Nottingham City Council looking to raise standards
The plans for landlords in Nottingham to hold a licence have come about due to the council stating they wanted to make changes that would improve standards, make it harder for rogue landlords to operate and to reduce the level of anti-social behaviour. The initial proposal was aimed at covering the entire city of Nottingham but after a consultation period, this was reduced to areas which hold a high proportion of property controlled by private landlords.
At this point in time, the council is pushing for landlords to sign up for an independent accreditation organisation. This can be seen with the fact that the cost of a licence for an independent accreditation organisation will be £400, which is a reduction from the initially proposed figure of £460. The cost of a licence for a landlord who doesn’t hold accreditation is £655, and this covers the five year period of the licence.
A saving of £255 is likely to incentivise some landlords into gaining accreditation, which is a positive step in improving the standards of lets in the city. Obviously a landlord will have to factor in any costs of joining a membership scheme and in carrying out any repairs or upgrades recommended but there are many benefits for a landlord in being an accredited landlord, and if there are more landlords holding this accreditation, it should benefit the city as a whole.
Applying to become an independent accredited landlord
Landlords in Nottingham who are keen to gain accreditation and save money should apply via DASH or UNIPOL, with further information being made available under the Private Sector Housing area of the Nottingham City Council website.
The fact that it is FREE to apply for this accreditation via DASH is positive news for landlords, and means that many landlords will be looking to sign up to make a significant saving. After completing the online application process, a successful landlord will have to:
- Sign a code of conduct regarding the service they will offer
- Commit to being a “fit and proper” landlord
- Undertake an online training course
- Have at least one property they own reviewed for a health and safety check
Overall, the steps required to gain accreditation, shouldn’t be too costly although some properties may require investment to ensure they pass the health and safety check. More importantly, there is a need for a landlord to act and serve in a correct manner, and this is said to be the real benefit of the scheme.
The council has been promoting the scheme by saying that the majority of private tenants who engaged with the council were backing the scheme.
Landlords must consider their costs
As you would expect from such a move, there isn’t universal approval regarding the licencing proposal. As has been pointed out, if landlords have to pay more money to act as a landlord, there will likely be a rise in rents. Whenever there are changes in the property market that cost landlords and letting agents money, the tenant usually ends up paying more too.
First of all, landlords need to review their own rental yield to take into account the additional expenditure they will have. If everything else stayed the same, this change would lower the landlord’s yield, which may make their role less appealing or unsustainable. In that case, a landlord would need to consider raising rents or trying to save money in another area to offset the new charges. This is something that every landlord will need to consider in its own right but the importance of retaining confidence in your finances is an essential part of being a landlord.
With these changes likely to come into effect from April 2018, it makes sense for Nottingham landlords to be proactive now regarding their status and the condition of their property. With all expectations being that the licence requirement will be approved, Nottingham landlords have an opportunity to prove that they can be relied upon to offer a strong service for their tenants.