Selective licensing scheme for private landlords

From 1 April 2018, private residential landlords with properties in the Canalside Ward of the Borough (parts of Maybury and Woking Town Centre) will require a license to operate.

The licensing scheme will support the need for decent, affordable housing and reduce instances of poor housing associated with private rented accommodation, whilst improving the health, safety and wellbeing of private tenants.

Once the selective licensing scheme commences, the Council aims to inspect every private rented property within the selective licensing area, and where health and safety hazards are found, enforcement action will be taken to remedy these hazards.

This action will ensure that private landlords carry out improvements to properties that are either non-decent or unsafe, and this will improve the health and well-being of private tenants.

The selective licensing scheme will provide a range of key benefits.

  • Improve housing conditions.
  • Encourage professional rental standards.
  • Tackle landlords who operate unlawfully.
  • Reduce incidence of tenant exploitation.
  • Improve property management.
  • Reduce overcrowding.
  • Reduce incidence of harassment and unlawful eviction.
  • Improve neighbourhood perceptions.

The Council’s discretionary power to implement selective licensing of the private rented sector is set out in Housing Act 2004.

Applying for a licence

All private landlords who operate private rented accommodation in the Canalside Ward must have applied for a licence with supporting documents to Woking Borough Council by 1 April 2018.

Licences will be issued for a maximum of five years (depending on the application date) and, for the majority of landlords, only one application will be required during the Selective Licensing Scheme.

Applications can be made online and must be accompanied by the required certification and fees.

Apply for your licence**

Private landlords who provide a valid application for a licence prior to the commencement of the scheme will not be required to pay any licence application fees. This will be confirmed in writing acknowledging receipt of the application.

Landlords who fail to apply prior to 1 April 2018 will be required to pay a licence fee of 560 (reduced to 200 for existing Woking Private Landlord Accreditation Scheme accredited landlords) for a maximum 12 month licence. The detailed fees applicable to the scheme may be viewed here.

Where a licence is issued for less than five years, a renewal application will need to be made prior to the expiry of the initial licence for which a renewal fee will apply.

Back to top

Selective licensing offences

It will be a criminal offence for a private landlord to operate any private rented accommodation in the selective licensing scheme area without a licence after 1 April 2018.

The Council has powers to either prosecute private landlords who commit licensing offences (maximum penalty is an unlimited fine), or issue financial penalties of up to 30,000.

Operating an unlicensed property may also lead to the Council, or a tenant, to make an application to obtain a Rent Repayment Order in respect of up to 12 months rent or housing benefit monies paid. The Council could also take control of unlicensed premises through an Interim Management Order. Furthermore, in relation to shorthold tenancies, no Section 21 Notice may be served under the Housing Act 1988 in respect of an unlicensed property.

A person who breaches a condition of the licence shall either be liable to prosecution (and upon summary conviction liable to an unlimited fine), or a financial penalty not exceeding 30,000.

Back to top

Additional resources

**Please note, if you are experiencing difficulties downloading the application form and the website states 'please wait' Gov.uk advise this is a known issue and your PC is probably trying to use it’s default or browser PDF software.

Try selecting the PDF that you have downloaded and use the 'open with' function (ctrl-click or right-click on file name) to select Adobe Reader to open the file. You may need to search for the downloaded file in your 'downloads' folder.

If you continue to have this issue please contact us on propertylicensing@woking.gov.uk