Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans for our places and open spaces

Selective Licensing

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is considering introducing Selective Licensing of private rented properties within 2 distinct areas of the borough.  The consultation has now closed and the information gathered will be brought together in a publically accessible document.


What is a Selective Licensing Scheme?

The Housing Act 2004 gives Council’s the power to introduce the selective licensing of private rented homes within a designated area.  Under the scheme, owners or managers of private rented properties are legally required to obtain a licence for each property that they rent out in the designated area. 


Where will the Selective Licensing Scheme Apply?

The proposed designated areas are Central Stockton and North Thornaby. Please see the maps below for more information:

You can download the following key information that supports the Selective Licensing consultation:


Why is a Selective Licensing Scheme needed?

Both Central Stockton and North Thornaby are areas with very high concentrations of private rented housing that are, or are likely to become areas of low housing demand and are experiencing high levels of deprivation. In addition these are areas which suffer high levels of crime and anti-social behavior. The Council proposes to use Selective Licensing as a tool alongside a range of other measures to seek to address low housing demand and achieve a more balanced housing market, including a quality private rented sector.


How have these areas been chosen for a Selective Licensing Scheme?

The two areas were identified using a range of information, a full breakdown of the evidence and findings is included in the Selective Licensing Proposal Paper and the Selective Licensing Evidence Report - Appendix One.


How does Selective Licensing work?

All private landlords would need to apply for a licence for each residential property they let within the proposed designated areas.  In order to be a licence holder they must be a fit and proper person in terms of their suitability to manage their property/properties. 

The licence contains conditions some of which are mandatory. These relate to gas, electrical, fire safety, tenancy agreements and referencing.  Stockton Council is also proposing additional conditions relating to:

  • General, property and tenancy management
  • Permitted occupation
  • Tackling anti-social behaviour
  • Notification of changes
  • Licence holder training
  • The licence fee payment.

More information can be found by viewing the Selective Licensing Conditions - Appendix Four document. 


What are the benefits from Selective Licensing?

The Council believes Selective Licensing will benefit the local community. It will ensure that all private properties within the designated area are managed to a satisfactory standard.  Some of the expected benefits include:

Benefits for landlords

  • Improved confidence in the market and potential growth in property values
  • A level playing field where all landlords are required to operate to the same standard
  • Improved communications with the Council
  • Better understanding of their statutory responsibilities through training sessions etc
  • Supporting advice for inexperienced landlords.  

Benefits for tenants

  • Better understanding of the standards they should expect
  • Better understanding of their responsibilities
  • Written tenancy agreements, inventories and protected deposits
  • Confidence that the Council will help if licence conditions are not met.

Benefits for the wider community

  • Shorter void periods and less tenant turnover
  • Improved quality of life, image and desirability of the area
  • Fewer empty properties
  • Less anti-social behaviour
  • Increase in the length of tenancies resulting in more settled communities.


Will landlords have to pay for a licence and what will it involve?

Yes.  The proposed standard licence fee per property is £945.  This fee will cover the five year licence for one licence holder.  It is proposed that a fee discount of £100 per property will be offered for members of The Council’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme or if the proposed licence holder is a full member of the National Landlords Association or the Residential Landlords Association. More information can be found by viewing the Selective Licensing Fee Proposal - Appendix Five document. 


What could happen if a private landlord fails to meet the licence conditions or lets their property in a designated Selective Licence area without a licence?

Failure to apply/obtain a licence could lead to an unlimited fine or a Civil Penalty of up to £30,000. In addition where a breach of a licence condition is identified this could lead to a fine of £5,000 or a Civil Penalty for each breach.


What are the next steps?

The consultation has now closed and the information gathered will be brought together in a publically accessible document. The Council is committed to ensuring that each representation made during the consultation period is taken into consideration in accordance with Government guidelines. Once this process has concluded a report will be presented to a future Cabinet meeting. 

The Council has three options:

  • To do nothing and not implement a scheme of Selective Licensing
  • To amend the Selective Licensing proposal
  • To proceed with the Selective Licensing scheme with a three month notification period before the scheme comes into force.

Details of any decision made will be published as soon as possible.