What's changed since we last updated you
Following on from our last message, out of the original list of 32 points to comply, 3 have been dropped; this in turn means that all of our managed properties already comply with the incoming licensing requirements.
- There is no longer a requirement for electrical inspections.
- Thumb turn locks on main escape routes have been deleted
- To provide proof of insurance is no longer required
But – and it is a big but…
Nottingham City Council have confirmed that there are just over 27,000 properties that are affected by the incoming licence and they plan to inspect just 50%. Therefore they will be working on the basis of inspecting the properties that fall short of their ‘Nottingham Standard’ which does include the requirements for electrical inspections to be renewed every 5 years and for landlords to become DASH accredited.
The latter of which will entitle landlords to benefit from the reduced licensing fee of £480 over the 5 year term and payable in two parts ¾’s upfront and ¼ on completion. However, there is another fly in the ointment, DASH are currently charging £95.00 to apply and the procedure involves a 53 Page work book with exam questions at the end. This isn’t difficult and most landlords would pass with flying colours with the answers embedded in the work book, but there are a couple of curve balls that you would do well to answer correctly regarding the overriding responsibility for Gas Safety.
What are the financial benefits?
The financial benefits however are a little more complicated, the DASH accreditation lasts for 3 years, where the licence lasts for 5, so in effect you will have to incur 2 accreditation charges during the term of the licence and I can see the current cost of the DASH accreditation rising with the increase in applications. In view of this there is a chance that the cost of becoming accredited will equal the full cost of the licence, where the decision will come is how compliant you wish to become to avoid the chance of scrutiny.
In my experience - (and this is exactly why I personally have become DASH accredited and why I am also in the process of renewing all my electrical safety certs), is that NCC can be pretty exacting when it comes to a property assessment and there has been one or two landlords in the portfolio that have had to upgrade things like the number of available sockets in bedrooms and the provisions for additional heating that go way above what could be deemed reasonable or practicable, despite this being a term in which they are supposed to abide by, but deem to fall below their standards.
It will come of no surprise that I will err on the side of caution and I have always had a vested interest in the provision of a high standard of rental property, I have every motive to prove that the standard of a property has a direct link to the standard of occupant/tenancy it attracts.
So what to do now
1. Sign up to a ‘My Nottingham’ Account on Nottingham City Council’s website. This is where from 1st July, licence applications can be made.
2. Obtain a (basic) DBS (Disclosure and Barring Check) – it must be the basic version as they will not accept a comprehensive version. This is a smart move by NCC and will cost us individually £25.00. What it will enable NCC to do with their limited resources is highlight those properties that don’t have a licence, aren’t DASH accredited and don’t have a valid DBS check and through the process of elimination they may stand a chance of finding some rogue landlords/criminal activity.
3. Visit https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/housing/private-sector-housing/selective-licensing/ On this page there is a link under the heading 'Resources and Good Practices' called 'Selective Licensing Handbook' this is a copy of the new licensing booklet that has been produced titled ‘quality housing for all'. Page 14 refers to the docs required to conform to the licensing.
Overseas landlords will not be able to apply for a licence so this is a point that will require further consultation and will be updated ASAP.