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Selective licensing of privately rented properties

Selective licensing gives us powers to regulate landlords and managing agents of private rented property in areas that suffer from low housing demand and/or high levels of anti-social behaviour and/or deprivation.

The selective licensing will come into effect on 1 April 2022 and expire on 31 March 2027.

    Selective licensing areas

    There are currently 103 areas designated for selective licensing. To find out if a property requires a licence, please use our property checker.

    ColumnField nameExplanation
    APostcodePostcode of area being searched for
    BSettlementArea the postcode is in
    CInclude in designated areaWhether the postcode is in a designated area
    DLSOA nameLower Super Output Area name

    Public register

    All properties which currently have a Selective Licence can be viewed at Public register of properties with a selective licence.

    If you believe a property requires a licence but it is not on the public register please report an unlicensed property at Report an unlicensed landlord or landlord in breach of licence conditions.

    Landlords who serve notice on a tenant where the property should be licensed may not be able to progress possession proceedings if the property is not licensed.

    Apply for a licence

    If you are a landlord operating within a designated area, you must:

    • apply for a licence for each residential property they rent out
    • prove you are a 'fit and proper person' to hold a licence
    • have adequate management arrangements in place
    • take action to assist with anti-social behaviour in your properties

    The licence lasts for five years and is not transferable. If the licence holder is no longer involved in the management of the property, the new manager must apply for a new licence. Licences are not transferrable between properties.

    During the application process you will be asked to upload gas certificates, proof of electrical checks, tenancy agreements and energy performance certificates. If you do not have these to hand you can save the application form and return to attach these at a later point in time.

      Fees and discounts


      Discounts are available if you are the licence holder and:

      • you already hold a selective licence in County Durham on 1 April 2024 and apply for a licence for an additional property that has become licensable in the past 12 weeks- you will receive a discount of £110.
      • you apply for multiple licences- you will receive a discount of £35 from your second property application onwards (ie, the first property application will not be discounted). A refund of £35 is processed once the property application is submitted by you and the multiple property discount is confirmed by us. The amount is refunded to the card the payment was originally made on and is usually made within two working days.


      The licence fee is £555 per property and is payable in two parts, the first on application and the second when the licence is granted. 

      If you are the licence holder and:

      • you already hold a selective licence in County Durham on 1 April 2024 and apply for a licence for an additional property that has become licensable in the past 12 weeks then the fee is £410 per property (Part A £165, Part B £245)
      • you apply for your first property licence then the fee is £555 per property (Part A £200, Part B £355)
      • you apply for a second licence (or more) then the fee is £520 per property (Part A £165, Part B £355)

      Fit and proper person

      You and anyone else involved in the management of the property (for example, a manager or managing agent) must show they are a 'fit and proper person'. This means they will be assessed for any:

      • offences involving fraud or other dishonesty, or violence or drugs, or any offence listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offenders Act 2003
      • unlawful discrimination on grounds of sex, colour, race, ethnic or national origins, or disability
      • breaches of housing or landlord and tenant law

      Licensing conditions

      Licences have a number of conditions attached to make sure properties and tenancies are managed effectively. Some of these conditions are legally required while others are local conditions designed to tackle local problems affecting the licensing areas. The conditions also inform you of what standards are expected.

      Icon for pdf Selective licensing conditions (PDF, 130.2kb)

      The law and appeals

      It is an offence to let a property within a selective licensing area without a licence. You could face prosecution and an unlimited fine, or a civil fine of up to £30,000 if you fail to obtain a licence or breach the licence conditions. See our  Icon for pdf Civil Penalty Policy (PDF, 405.9kb) .

      If we are unable to grant a licence, or have to remove a licence, we may take over the management of the property. A licence can be refused for a property if you do not meet the fit and proper person criteria or cannot demonstrate you have adequate management arrangements in place.

      An application for a Rent Repayment Order (RRO) may also be made which, if granted, will require you to pay back up to 12 months rental income from the property.

      You can appeal through Solve a residential property dispute within 28 days if they disagree with any of our decisions.

      Support available

      Housing Solutions has a range of support available to both landlords and tenants to help make the improvements where necessary. These can include:

      • training for landlords on legislation, tenancy management and landlord responsibilities
      • training for tenants to help manage a tenancy including budgeting, maintaining a home, waste and recycling and tenant responsibilities

      Contact us at Housing Solutions for more information.


      Licensing exemptions include:

      • local Housing Authorities or Registered Social Landlords (Housing Associations) tenancies
      • holiday lets
      • a family member renting the property from you (proof required) 
      • long lease tenancies (21 years) 
      • business tenancies
      • properties where we have taken action to close the property down 
      • licensable Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) under part two of the Housing Act 2004 
      • temporary exemption notices
      • empty properties (a licence must be successfully applied for, before a tenant can move into the property)
      • temporary exemption notices for up to three months if the property is in the process of being sold and there are signed contracts for exchange (within the next three months), or the landlord has given the tenant notice to quit and the end date is within the next three months and after this time the landlord will no longer let the property as a rented property (you should apply for the temporary exemption notice through the same portal as applications at Apply for a temporary exemption notice)

      Background to scheme

      Our Cabinet approved designations for selective licensing, and the proposals for a new scheme, on 16 September 2020 and the Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities approved them on 30 November 2021.

      We have been given powers by government (under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004) to introduce selective licensing schemes for areas of privately rented housing where there is one or more of the following:

      • low demand for housing
      • a significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour
      • poor property conditions
      • high levels of migration
      • high levels of deprivation
      • high levels of crime

      Objectives of selective licensing

      We aim to:

      • improve management standards increasing compliance rates
      • provide safe and healthy homes by reducing housing hazards and disrepair
      • reduce anti-social behaviour by 10% from baseline figures

      We aim to ensure that private rented properties offer tenants a choice of safe and well managed accommodation and where necessary, raise standards of private rented properties. The benefits to communities can include:

      • improved health and wellbeing of tenants - it is recognised that poor housing standards can have a major impact on the health and wellbeing
      • improved management practices - landlords who fail to get a licence for a property or who are unwilling to effectively manage their property, can face prosecution, fines or we will take over managing the property
      • reduced anti-social behaviour - tenants are made aware of how their behaviour can affect their tenancy and landlords work alongside us to address and reduce anti-social behaviour in their properties