If the case-law is to be believed, local authorities have a hard enough time introducing selective licensing schemes as it is (see R (Peat) v Hyndburn and R (Regas) v Enfield)). Well, the government has published a draft SI designed to make it even harder.
In addition to the existing conditions which have to be fulfilled (broadly, ASB or low housing demand in an area, together with a consultation process), two new tests must also be met.
In all cases, the authority must be satisfied that the area to be licensed contains a high proportion of privately rented properties, let on assured tenancies or licences and one of four other conditions apply:
(a) the authority intends to inspect for Category 1 and 2 Hazards (Housing Act 2004) and a designation will assist this;
(b) the area has experienced or is experiencing an influx of migration and the designation will improve the social and economic conditions of the area, including management of properties to prevent overcrowding (WTF! Can you hear the dog-whistle…)
(c) the area is suffering from high levels of deprivation and a designation will assist to counter this; or,
(d) the area suffers from high levels of crime and, again, a designation will assist to counter this.
The plan seems to be that it’ll come into force on April 1, 2015. What is really interesting is that there is no transitional provision. So, suppose you’re a local authority which has resolved to introduce a scheme and already complied with the existing requirements, but your scheme is not yet in force. Do you now have to go back to the drawing board?