Selective Licensing

This section details the Government's selective licensing policy and provides links to guidance and the relevant Statutory Instruments relating to the implementation of selective licensing in England.

Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 gives local authorities the discretion to introduce selective licensing schemes to cover all privately rented property in areas which suffer, or are likely to suffer from, low housing demand and also to those that suffer from significant and persistent anti-social behaviour. The use of this discretionary power is subject to local consultation and the consent of the Secretary of State.

Communities and Local Government's policy on Selective Licensing

Selective licensing is an important tool to help local authorities tackle the worst problems in the private rented sector where poorly managed and maintained properties and anti-social tenants are having a detrimental effect on local communities.

However, we recognise that selective licensing will not cure all of the problems local communities face and it must be used alongside other strategies to arrest those problems. Local authorities and other agencies should work with local landlords to help them deal with problematic tenants and to meet minimum standards.

To gain approval local authorities must demonstrate that their schemes fit in with their overall strategic approach to tackling problems in the local private rented sector, including existing policies on: homelessness, empty properties, regeneration and anti-social behaviour. Local authorities must also conduct a full and comprehensive consultation with local landlords, managing agents, tenants, residents and businesses on their proposals prior to submitting them.

Legislative background

The Statutory Instruments relating to the implementation of Selective Licensing in England under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 were laid before parliament on 22 February 2006, and came into force on 6 April 2006.

The following Statutory Instruments are available on the Office of Public Sector Information website:

The Housing (Interim Management Orders) (Prescribed Circumstances) (England) Order 2006 - SI 2006/369

SI 2006/369 is to allow Special interim management orders (SIMOs) to be made in circumstances similar to those which selective licensing is intended to address, but in this case to single privately rented properties.

The Explanatory Memorandum and Regulatory Impact Assessment are available at:

The Selective Licensing of Houses (Specified Exemptions) (England) Order 2006 - SI 2006/370

SI 2006/370 excludes certain tenancies in order to prevent excessive, unnecessary or conflicting regulation and to keep owner occupiers outside the scope of selective licensing.

The Explanatory Memorandum and Regulatory Impact Assessment are available at:

Key facts and figures

Communities and Local Government has granted approval to eight selective licensing schemes in six local authority areas:

  • Salford City Council
  • Middlesbrough Council
  • Manchester City Council
  • Gateshead Council
  • Sedgefield Borough Council, and
  • Burnley Council.

Information for landlords and tenants

To find out whether selective licensing applies in your area please contact your local authority.

Contact us

Communities and Local Government
Private Housing Management Conditions and Adaptations
1st Floor
Eland House
Bressenden Place

Telephone: 020 7944 4400
Email: contactus@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Key words: Selective licensing, Private rented property, Private landlord, Low housing demand, anti social behaviour

Related publications

Archived content

You may also be interested in …

On this site

My favourites