Landlord licensing frequently asked questions

General questions

How will landlord licensing benefit landlords?

Landlord licensing is intended to benefit landlords in a number of ways. As part of the licensing regime, Salford City Council will provide landlords with a range of support services and training opportunities, in order to ensure that they are able to meet the conditions of their licence, and to assist in the running of their businesses. In the longer term, licensing is intended to raise the overall management standards in the private rented sector and therefore have a positive effect on rent levels and capital values. This will encourage investment in our city and a thriving private rented market.

Is VAT payable on the licence fee?

No, VAT is not payable on the licence fee.

Can you transfer a licence?

As stated in legislation, licences are non transferable.

What is the definition of a household?

Persons who are all members of the same family (for example, they are married or co-habiting, regardless of their sex) or one of them is the parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the other.

What sanctions can be imposed against landlords?

If the landlord of a property, which is liable to be licensed, and which does not have a licence or a valid temporary exemption notice, or allows an HMO to be occupied by more than the specified number of people in the licence, he commits an offence, which may be punishable by an unlimited fine imposed by the Magistrates Court.  Alternatively, under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 the council has the power to issue a civil penalty of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution for housing offences under the Housing Act 2004.

If the landlord breaches the conditions of the licence, he also commits an offence and may be liable for a fine of up to £5,000 or a civil penalty.

The local authority will be able to apply to the first-tier property chamber for a rent repayment order, in order to recoup any housing benefit the landlord has received during the unlicensed period (maximum 12 months). No offence is committed if there is an outstanding application for a licence or a temporary exemption notice is in force.

What does a "fit and proper person" mean?

Salford City Council will carry out checks to make sure that the person applying for the licence is a "fit and proper person". In deciding whether someone is "fit and proper", Salford City Council must take into account, amongst other things:

  • Any previous convictions relating to violence, sexual offences, drugs and fraud
  • Whether the proposed licence holder has broken any laws relating to housing or landlord and tenant issues
  • Whether the person has been found guilty of unlawful discrimination
  • Whether the person has previously managed HMO's that have broken any approved code of practice

Salford City Council envisage that the proposed licence holder and/or managing agent will be asked to submit a Basic Disclosure (obtained from Disclosure Scotland) along with the application.

Are there conditions attached to the licence?

There will be a number of conditions attached to licences, some of which are set out in the act and some of which will be prescribed by Salford City Council in individual cases.

How long does a licence last?

Licences can be granted for up to five years. Licences will usually end on the scheme expiry date. Salford City Council may grant licences for shorter periods in certain circumstances.

When should I apply for a licence?

Landlords are encouraged to start the online application as soon as they decide to let a property. 

Do I have to apply for a licence for each property?

Yes. A licence will only be valid for one property. You will require a licence for each property

I have properties in different local authorities, do I have to apply to each of them?

Yes. Each local authority is responsible for determining and issuing a licence in their area. This allows local authorities to take their local needs and policies into account when making their decision.

Can the council refuse to licence my property?

Yes. if the property does not meet the conditions set out and/or if the licence holder/manager is not a "fit and proper person".

What will happen if the council refuse to licence my property?

If a landlord fails to bring a property up to the required standard, or fails to meet the "fit and proper person" criteria, Salford City Council can apply to issue an Interim Management Order (IMO), which if granted, allows Salford City Council to step in and manage the property.

The owner keeps their rights as an owner. This order can last up to a year until suitable permanent management arrangements can be made. If the IMO expires and there has been no improvement, the Salford City Council can apply for a Final Management Order. If granted, this can last up to five years and can be renewed.

Can I appeal against the decision?

You may appeal if the council decides to:

  • Refuse a licence
  • Grant a licence with conditions
  • Revoke a licence
  • Vary a licence
  • Refuse to vary a licence

You must appeal to the First-tier tribunal - Property Chamber, usually within 28 days.

Mandatory and Additional HMO licensing

In terms of licensing, what is a mandatory HMO?

A mandatory HMO has five or more occupants that form two or more households.

What is the definition of a storey?

A storey is defined as any basement, attic or floor that is adapted for use as living accommodation. Mezzanine floors within buildings are included in this definition.

Is a two-storey property above business premises defined as an HMO?

Yes, where living accommodation is situated in a part of a building above or below business premises, each storey of the business premises is counted as a storey.

What criteria must an HMO meet for it to be licensed?

Anyone who owns or manages an HMO that must be licensed in Salford has to apply to Salford City Council for a licence. The council must grant a licence if it is satisfied that:

  • The HMO is reasonably suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence
  • The proposed licence holder is a "fit and proper person"
  • The proposed licence holder is the most appropriate person to hold a licence
  • The proposed manager, if there is one, is a "fit and proper person"
  • The proposed management arrangements are satisfactory
  • The person involved in the management of the HMO is competent
  • The financial structures for the management are suitable

What is meant by "reasonably suitable for occupation" for a number of people?

For an HMO to be reasonably suitable for occupation for a relevant number of people, Salford City Council will be using prescribed standards set by the government. The standards cover, amongst other things:

  • Number, type and quality of bathrooms, toilets, washbasins and showers
  • Number, type and quality of food storage, preparation and cooking facilities
  • Fire precautions

What happens when I apply for a HMO Licence (Mandatory or Additional) without the correct planning permission?

If you apply for a HMO licence (Mandatory or Additional) and the property has changed use from C3 (family) to C4 (HMO) or Sui Generis (HMO) without planning permission, you may be granted a licence for only a 12 months period. We will consider every application on its own merits. During this 12 months period, its is expected that you take the opportunity to regularise and put the planning affairs of your property in order by applying for Change of Use permission. The full HMO licence fee will still be payable and is non-refundable even when a 12-month licence is granted.  

If you’re granted planning permission or win an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, you will need to quickly apply to vary the HMO licence, this is not automatic and you will need to request that it be varied to expire in five years after date of your duly made original HMO licence application, by emailing – You must apply to vary the licence on your own initiative, if you forget then the licence will expire. If you’re refused permission or lose your appeal, the licence will be allowed to expire and you must take steps to ensure the property does not require a HMO licence if you do not have the correct permissions in place. During this time it may be necessary to apply for a Temporary Exemption Notice whilst winding down the HMO business.  

If you request to vary the licence when you’ve not applied for planning permission during those 12 months and planning permission has been refused, or your appeal to the Planning Inspectorate has been unsuccessful, we’ll generally refuse to vary the licence and allow it to expire at the 12 month mark. If you apply for a HMO licence after planning permission has been refused already, or all avenues of appeal have been exhausted, we may still refuse to grant a licence. The full HMO licence fee will be payable and is non-refundable if a licence is refused.

Selective landlord licensing

What is selective licensing?

Salford City Council can introduce licensing to all private rented property in selected areas where there is evidence of low demand in housing and/or persistent anti-social behaviour which is linked back to private landlords who are failing to take appropriate action to tackle this behaviour. This is known as selective landlord licensing.

Does the authority intend to roll out the scheme across the whole city?

Salford City Council does not intend to roll out licensing across all private rented properties in the city. The government has indicated that selective licensing must only be used in priority areas and Salford City Council fully supports this approach.

What are the proposed payment options?

  • Full payment upfront
  • 50% upfront and 11 monthly direct debits to pay the remainder
  • 25% upfront and 23 monthly direct debits to pay the remainder

There is no interest charges, and you can still benefit from the discounts and spread the payment.

Will my property need inspecting?

Selective licensing does not require the mandatory inspection of every property.

Salford City Council aims to ensure that landlords who provide rented accommodation in the whole of the city supply a good quality service to their tenants.

Tenants, who feel that there are possible disrepair issues in their rented property, can contact the housing standards team on 0161 793 2545 to discuss their concerns. If there are grounds for an inspection, then the housing standards team will liaise with both landlord and tenant to arrange the inspection.

The housing standards team does not carry out inspections without having a valid reason to enter a private property and usually cannot enter without serving the relevant notice of intended entry.

Will it drive landlords to sell their properties?

Whilst selective licensing has been operating in the Seedley and Langworthy area, thee Broughton area and the Charlestown and Kersal areas, there has been no evidence to suggest that it has had a negative impact for private landlords. In fact we have found it to be quite the opposite.

There has been no evidence that reputable landlords have ceased operating in the area purely down to it being a selective licensing area. The council regularly holds a landlord forum which allows Landlords to engage with officers. Landlords who attend this forum have regularly challenged the council to deal with the small minority of "rogue" landlords who give a negative impression of private landlords. These landlords are often under cutting reputable landlords by offering cheap, poorly maintained and badly managed accommodation. Tenants are then moving in and very quickly moving out again. This causes a high turnover of tenants and does not assist in promoting a sustainable community. Selective licensing is an effective way of dealing with these issues.

This page was last updated on 24 June 2022

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