Selective Licensing schemes are now live in areas of north and east Manchester to help improve standards for residents living in private rented sector (PRS) homes, covering more than 1,400 properties.
Selective Licensing allows Councils to introduce compulsory licences for all private rented properties in areas experiencing one or more of the following: significant and persistent problem caused by antisocial behaviour, poor property conditions, high levels of migration, high levels of deprivation, high levels of crime, low housing demand – or is likely to become such an area.
Selective Licensing is intended to address the impact of poor-quality property and management standards.
The four new areas that are now designated are (full lists of streets and maps can be found in the notes to editors’ section):
- The Ladders - Gorton and Abbey Hey – 773 PRS properties
- Hyde Road - Gorton and Abbey Hey – 94 PRS properties
- Trinity – Harpurhey - 430 PRS properties
- Ben Street area - Clayton and Openshaw - 105 PRS properties
All residents in properties that now require a licence will receive a letter explaining that licensing is now in operation and that their landlord will be required to apply.
Landlords are encouraged to apply for a licence as the earliest opportunity with an early bird discount being offered to all applications received between 31 January 2022 and 30 April 2022
The new Selective Licensing designations follow two periods of consultation in the neighbourhoods which allowed the council to engage with residents and landlords to understand their views and to ensure local people understand why the licensing scheme was being proposed – and explain how the programme will look to improve their homes and wider communities.
Results from both the consultation exercises show the majority of residents support the introduction of Selective Licensing in all four areas with 85% of all resident respondents to the consultations agreeing with the suggested licensing areas – and 92% agreeing that private rented properties should be inspected by the Council.
Prior to the new schemes going live, Council officers undertook internal and external inspections of a proportion of the intended licensable properties to assist with monitoring the potential impact of Selective Licensing. (701 external inspections of the PRS homes across the four designations – around 50% of all homes. Plus 145 internal inspections - 10% of all the homes).
During these visits, six serious hazards (category 1) and 215 other hazards (category 2) were found, which led to three enforcement letters served instructing landlords to improve their properties.
91 letters were sent to landlords informing them of less severe hazards and a range of informal advice was given to property owners.
Hazards identified that required landlords to undertake improvements works related to electrical and fire safety as well as issues relating to damp and mould and other domestic hygiene related concerns.
This means residents in these homes are already seeing the tangible benefits of Selective Licensing in the safety of their property.
There are already four schemes in operation in the city, which have licensed 1,681 homes:
Licensable areas are already in place in:
- Crumpsall - Came into force 13 March 2017 until 12 March 2022
- Old Moat - came into force 23 April 2018 until 22 April 2023
- Moston - came into force 23 April 2018 until 22 April 2023
- Moss Side / Rusholme - came into force 8 January 2018 until 7 January 2023
In these areas, 1,871 licenses have been issued and 554 properties have been inspected during the licensable periods. These inspections have led to 51 enforcement letters (improvement notices) sent to landlords asking them to address issues in their properties.
18 fines totalling £108k have been handed out to landlords and property owners that have failed to comply with the terms of Selective Licensing.
And 12 Suspended Prohibition Orders (orders that could close a property if standards don’t improve) have been issued – most due to overcrowding.
Cllr Gavin White, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and employment, said:
"While we know that the majority of landlords in the city are good and take their responsibility to their tenants seriously, there are a minority that seem content to rent out substandard or dangerous properties. There is no place for rogue landlords in Manchester.
“This is where Selective Licensing comes in – and these schemes provide a way for the Council to work with property owners, landlords and agents to ensure that their homes are up to scratch, while also tackling neighbourhood issues, such as waste problems.
“What is clear from areas of the city that have had Selective Licensing for a few years is that these schemes do improve standards in private sector homes – and tenants are seeing the real-life benefits.
“The enforcement work carried out by Council officers mean that residents in private sector homes in these areas can sleep soundly knowing that their homes have been made safe as a direct result of Selective Licensing. We want to do all we can to ensure that all our residents can live in safe, secure, sustainable and affordable homes.”