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Nottingham Selective Licensing to be Investigated by External Auditors

A Selective Licensing scheme that charges Nottingham landlords up to £890 a year for each property they rent out will be investigated by external auditors.

Nottingham City Council set up the Selective Licensing programme in August 2018 to improve rented properties and crack down on rogue landlords. It is estimated that around 32,000 properties across Nottingham need a licence and those landlords that fail to apply face fines of up to £30,000 or prosecution through the courts.

Having a licence means the council can check properties are safe to rent and can crack down on bad landlords who leave properties in poor or unsafe conditions. But concerns were raised by some property owners that good landlords were paying the cost for bad landlords, and the licensing fee would be passed on to tenants in terms of rent rises. Some landlords have decided to sell-up completely.

Fees for the scheme have risen since it was first introduced, now ranging from £670 to £890 per property. The scheme comes to an end in July 2023, before which, its renewal will be considered. The council’s external auditors, Grant Thornton, received a formal objection from a landlord in relation to the council’s 2019/20 accounts over the scheme.

John Gregory, representing Grant Thornton, spoke to councillors at an audit committee on 25 February about the issues raised. He said: “It concerns the value for money of the scheme and the way it was managed. How much it costs. How much it has brought in to the council in terms of fees paid by the landlords. Basically, whether it was a worthwhile exercise. That has been made as a formal objection to the accounts and that is something we do need to consider.”

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