Selective Licensing and new tenancy?

Selective Licensing and new tenancy?

0:02 AM, 16th May 2023, About 11 months ago 4

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Hello, selective licensing is now coming to an area I have a property in. The SoS (Secretary of State) agreed to it as the council stated it met the requirements as specifically as it is an area of high deprivation and anti-social issues. One of the requirements within the SL I need to adhere to is referencing. The exact wording is…

Condition 7 – Tenant references
The Licence Holder must obtain references from all persons who wish to occupy the house. Where references cannot be obtained, the Licence Holder must provide evidence of efforts made for reference checks. Copies of references or evidence of efforts made must be made available to the Council upon demand.

Condition 13 – Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour
The Licence Holder must:
i) Ensure that all reasonable and practical steps are taken to prevent or reduce criminality or anti-social behaviour by the occupants of, and visitors to, the Property.
ii) Where complaints of criminality or anti-social behaviour are made to the Licence Holder, the Licence Holder shall investigate them and take appropriate action to resolve them. Copies of the complaint shall be kept together with notes arising during the course of the investigation and how the matter was resolved, and the Licence Holder must keep them for the duration of the Licence. Where the Licence Holder has reason to believe that criminal activity is taking place at the property or the curtilage of it, the Licence Holder must ensure that the appropriate authorities e.g. Police, are informed.
iii) There may be instances where anti-social behaviour occurs more than once, but not continuously and possibly intermittently over several months. In such circumstances, the Licence Holder shall, as far as is reasonably practicable, take all steps required to ensure that it is effectively dealt with, up to and including eviction.

These two conditions raise an interesting point…

While I know there is no legal requirement to ask a tenant if they have any unspent convictions, my own application forms ask for details of any current convictions and details of anything unspent and therefore the tenant has the opportunity to answer this. So far, no previous tenants have ticked ‘yes’ so I have not felt it necessary to ask for further info.

Is this enough though given the council is now seemingly looking to make the LL more responsible as a condition of holding a licence?

In addition to the SL requirement (if taken literally and strictly), failure to declare any unspent convictions to the insurance provider, could invalidate the landlord’s insurance so is it best to insist on a basic or standard DBS Check on every tenant regardless? (then you cant be said to be discriminatory).

Is it best to ask ALL tenants to provide their details to you so you can do this (therefore they have given you permission to check) or best to ask for evidence from them as part of the normal reference checking process? If an employer can ask you for a copy of a own basic check, why can’t a landlord?

I guess I can’t insist on it (discrimination/ Tenant Fees act etc) BUT if I advised the application would go no further without this information as a direct result of my insurance AND the SL requirements, then I assume this would be ok?

I regard this request as ‘reasonable’ – as per the same wording as used in the SL conditions… In fact, it could be deemed as unreasonable that I do not ask!

TIA,

Reluctant Landlord


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Comments

David Houghton

10:37 AM, 17th May 2023, About 11 months ago

The best option is to write to your local council. Get a written response, that way if you are accused of discrimination in any way you can ble it on them.

Reluctant Landlord

10:52 AM, 17th May 2023, About 11 months ago

Reply to the comment left by David Houghton at 17/05/2023 - 10:37
good call! Be interesting to know if they will offer out such info. I bet they will go on about data protection client confidentiality etc..
I suppose if they refuse to give you info then you just refuse to progress.

Judith Wordsworth

16:25 PM, 20th May 2023, About 11 months ago

Condition 13 is nothing to do with a tenants spent or unspent convictions or unspent conditional cautions.
Condition 13 is for the landlord to take all reasonable and practical steps to be totally responsible to prevent or reduce criminality or anti-social behaviour by the occupants of, and visitors to, the Property (Landlords can be fined if they don't)
Hence being unpaid and unqualified ASBO officers/anti-Drug enforcement officers on top of being unpaid and unqualified immigration officers that has seen many of us leave the PRS!

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974(amended 2014) allows tenants not to disclose any SPENT criminal record when applying for housing and insurance or have to declare any spent conviction(s) or conditional cautions when applying for housing.
Prospective tenants need only to disclose anything that is unspent ie unspent convictions or unspent conditional cautions at the point of application.
https://www.nacro.org.uk/nacro-services/advice/advice-for-individuals/housing/

Judith Wordsworth

16:33 PM, 20th May 2023, About 11 months ago

Teach me to write an essay.
It is not a requirement, nor can it be, of any Selective Licence for Landlords to ask a prospective tenant about spent or unspent convictions or conditional cautions.
In fact they cannot legally have this as a requirement as breaches The HR Act and The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act AND if it a requirement the Local Authority is asking you to breach the law.

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