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Selective licensing

Selective Licensing is a scheme where all private landlords of properties within a defined boundary must have a licence before they can let those properties out. The licence will have conditions attached to ensure the properties are and continue to be safe and well-managed.

Selective licensing is introduced when the Council is satisfied that the selected area has at least one of the following issues:

  • low demand
  • significant or persistent problems caused by anti-social behaviour
  • poor housing condition
  • significant occupation of properties by migrants
  • high levels of deprivation
  • high levels of crime

Introducing a selective licensing scheme will help to improve these issues.

All privately rented properties within the proposed areas would need a selective licence.

The areas are Central Stockton, North Thornaby and Newtown. The attached maps and lists show the exact streets affected by Selective Licensing:

The scheme was approved by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council Cabinet on 16 May 2024 and will be introduced from 1 November 2024. The scheme will run for 5 years. Read the  Selective Licensing Notice (PDF) [128KB]  for more information.

If you have any queries or comments, email

What will be required of the landlord or management agent?

When applying, proposed licence holders and managers will be required to prove that they are 'fit and proper persons' to hold a licence, and that they have satisfactory management arrangements in place, including for dealing with anti-social behaviour.

When deciding whether a landlord and or managing agent is 'fit and proper', the council will look at whether they have ever:

  • discriminated illegally against anyone
  • breached any laws relating to renting property
  • committed any serious criminal offences (fraud, violence, drug offences, or sexual offences)

A licence is valid for a maximum of five years and will cease to be valid on the specified date. Failing to apply for a licence could lead to prosecution and an unlimited fine. If prosecuted, this could lead to the licence holder no longer being classed as 'fit and proper'.


How much will a selective licence cost?

Standard fee

Application Fee

£178 per property

Annual Fee

£95 per property for each of the 5 years the scheme will be in operation


A standard fee application per property would be £653.

Late fee application

Application Fee

£278 per property

Annual Fee

£95 per property for each of the 5 years the scheme will be in operation


A late fee application per property would be £753.

A late application fee would apply where an application is:

  • received more than 28 calendar days after the property becomes licensable (including where reminders have been sent)
  • incomplete and has been returned to the applicant and subsequently no completed application is received within a 28 day period from the date the incomplete application was returned

Fee discount proposal

A discount will apply to landlords who are a member of the Council's Landlord Accreditation Scheme, a member of a PLuSS (Private Landlords Supporting Stockton) or a member of a national accreditation scheme (National Residential Landlord Association 'NRLA' or British Landlords Association 'BLA').

The fee discount proposal is:

A. £50 per property for accredited landlords (members of the Council's Landlord Accreditation Scheme, a member of PLuSS, or those who are members of a national landlord scheme) at the time of the license application, this discount will be applied to the annual fee (on a pro-rata basis)

B. £75 per property for those who as of 31.05.2024 are either members of the Council's Landlord Accreditation Scheme or a full PLuSS member, this new discount will be applied to the annual fee (on a pro-rata basis)

Please note discount A or B will not be cumulatively applied.

C. discount for landlords with 2 or more properties, the £25 discount per property will be applied after the application of property 1, this new discount will be applied to the standard application fee


What if I have more than one property?

The Selective Licensing scheme requires each privately rented property within a designated area to have a licence. Consequently, if a landlord owns more than one property within a designated licensing area, they will need one licence per property.


What happens if my property should be licenced, but I don't apply for a licence?

Failure to licence your property is a criminal offence and you could be subject to prosecution.  If convicted of a criminal offence, you may face an unlimited fine or as an alternative to prosecution although the matter would still be treated as a criminal offence the council may issue a Civil Penalty Notice of up to £30,000.  Civil Penalties can be served on all owners and or managing agents involved in the renting of property within the designated area. The landlord or managing agent may also be banned from running a rental property.

A residential property tribunal may order a Rent Repayment Order whereby the local authority can recover any Housing Benefit paid in respect of the property during the period it was meant to be licensed and/or you may be ordered to repay rent paid to a tenant for up to 12 months.  You would be unable to recover possession of the property using a Section 21, Housing Act 1988 notice.


What happens if I don't comply with the conditions?

Landlords who do not comply with the license conditions could get a criminal conviction upon prosecution and a possible unlimited fine per condition breached or a civil penalty of up to £30,000 per breach.


Would I be entitled to a refund if I sell the property during the scheme?

A landlord would not be entitled to a refund if they chose to sell their property during the scheme.


If my landlord fails to satisfy the licence conditions, will I have to move out of my home?

In all cases the landlord must provide you with two months' notice and obtain an order from the court requiring you to leave. If the landlord does not have this order, then they could be attempting to evict you illegally and you should contact the Council.


How do I obtain a Tenant Reference?

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council will provide a free tenant reference service to landlords who are members of the selective licensing scheme, in order to ensure that they are able to make an informed choice about prospective tenants when letting properties within selective licensing areas.

We will check a tenant's housing history for the past three years using our records, our partner's records, and those of any current and previous landlords. These records may include, but not be limited to, any complaints of anti-social behaviour (ASB), domestic violence, rent arrears, damage to property, abandonment of property, breach of tenancy conditions, court orders, environmental health actions or enforcement actions, illegal use of property, and or criminal behaviour which is deemed to be relevant to tenancy management.

In assessing the previous behaviour of prospective tenants, we will operate a traffic light system, whereby we will grade a person either red, amber or green depending on the outcome of the information which is found as a result of our referencing checks.

The traffic light system is:

  • red - serious crime and or anti-social behaviour, evidence of eviction or high rent arrears
  • amber - low level crime and or anti-social behaviour, minor tenancy issues, or no previous housing or tenancy history
  • green - no issues identified

Although a prospective tenant may be graded 'red', we acknowledge that people need a place to live. As such, if a landlord wishes to accept a tenant who is given a 'red' grading, we will support them in doing so, by conducting joint visits with our enforcement officers, or our selective licensing officers.

If any ASB issues arise, we will provide advice to a landlord outlining support services which they could access in order to assist them in addressing the behaviour of their tenant. Ultimately, if any such issues persist, we will offer support to a landlord in preparing and serving a notice of seeking possession if appropriate.



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