Selective licensing

Penalties for not having a selective licence

If you don't have a licence it is a criminal offence which is subject to an unlimited fine upon conviction. Listed below are details of possible breaches:

  • It is an offence if the landlord or person in control of the property fails to apply for a licence. He/she is liable on summary conviction to an unlimited fine.
  • A licence holder who breaches any of the licence conditions is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5.
  • It is a criminal offence to obstruct the local authority in carrying out their functions under Parts 1 to 4 and sections 239 and 240 and one is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.
  • Overcrowding - a landlord committing an offence of overcrowding is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale and to a further fine not exceeding one-tenth of the amount corresponding to that level in respect of every day after the day he/she is convicted on which the offence continues.

Under s.324 of the Housing Act 1985 a 'dwelling' (home) is overcrowded when the number of persons sleeping in it is such as to contravene:

  1. The standard specified in section 325 (the room standard), or
  2. The standard specified in section 326 (the space standard)

Consequences of not having a licence

The following are some of the consequences of not having a licence:

  • a landlord who is required to have a licence but doesn't, loses the right to automatic possession of the rented property under an assured shorthold lease under HA1988, s.21 (as amended s.75)
  • tenants may make an application to a Residential Property Tribunal for a Rent Repayment Order if the landlord has been convicted of the offence of operating a licensed property without a licence

Defences for not having a licence

There are three defences available to someone who does not have the requisite licence:

  • when there is a reasonable excuse for his failure (section 95(1))
  • a notification had been duly given in respect of the house under section 62(1) or 86(1) (Temporary Exemption)
  • an application for a licence had been duly made in respect of the house under section 63, and that notification or application was still effective