Homes and property What is selective licensing?

Who does this apply to?

All landlords and agents within the selective licensing area will be required to complete an online application and provide safety certificates such as gas and electrical safety. Once an area has been designated landlords and agents have 3 months to apply for a licence before the designation comes into force.  Landlords will be required to pay a fee on submission of the licence application.

See which areas require a selective licence

The income generated from this will be used to pay for the consultation process, administration, management and running of the scheme. We do not generate surplus funds from selective licensing schemes. 

What if I don't apply for a licence?

It is against the law to rent out houses in a designated area without a licence. ​You may be subject to prosecution or, as an alternative, issued a civil penalty of up to £30,000. If you are convicted, you may receive an unlimited fine and could be prevented from holding a licence in the future. 

You may also be asked to pay back up to 12 months rent, this is called a Rent Repayment Order. In addition you would be unable to serve a valid section 21 notice to seek possession of the property.

A person will not be guilty of such an offence if there is a full application outstanding with the Council for the granting of a licence or if there is a Temporary Exemption Notice in place.


Any house occupied by the owner and up to 2 lodgers where the accommodation and an amenity such as a toilet, bathroom, kitchen or living room are shared between the occupier and the landlord are exempt.

If your property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and occupied by 5 or more, it will require a HMO licence instead of a Selective licence.  Any properties which currently have a HMO licence (mandatory or additional) would be exempt from Selective Licensing, as they are currently licensed.

Your home is an HMO if both of the following apply:

  • at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
  • you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants 

This includes resident landlords with 3 or more lodgers. 

Properties managed by local authorities, housing associations, other housing providers or other regulated bodies will also be exempt.

For a full list of exemptions you can refer to the Selective Licensing of Houses (Specified Exemptions) (England) Order 2006. Or read which other types of properties you don’t need a licence for.

Temporary exemption

You may be eligible to apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice (TEN) if you’re taking steps to take the property out of licensing. For example, you’re selling the property to someone who will live in it as an owner occupier. You can apply for a temporary exemption by completing the online application.

Apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice 

A separate application must be made for each house that you want a temporary exemption notice for. If granted a TEN would be valid for three months.

Your application will be refused if you don’t meet our requirements. If you don’t agree with our decisions, you can appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal within 28 days of the date that the refusal was made.

To apply for a second notice, you will need to complete the online form again. We will only consider extending the notice under exceptional circumstances.

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