A review to assess how selective licensing is used and how well it is working in the private rental sector has been announced.

The review - announced this week by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) - will see independent commissioners gather evidence from local authorities and bodies representing agents, landlords, tenants and housing professionals.

The review’s findings will be reported in spring 2019 but there will be an update on progress this autumn.

Currently, in areas where selective licensing applies, landlords must apply for a licence if they want to let a property.

This means the council can check whether they are a “fit or proper person” to be a landlord, as well as making other stipulations concerning management of the property and appropriate safety measures.

The government has revealed new guidance for letting agents and landlords with the aim of stamping out overcrowding in the private rental sector.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) says that following legislation introduced last month, from October 1 any agent or landlord who lets a property to five or more people from two or more separate households must be licensed by their local authority. It’s likely to affect 160,000 HMOs.

New rules will also come into force setting minimum size requirements for bedrooms in HMOs to prevent overcrowding; on top of that, landlords will also be required to adhere to council refuse schemes, to reduce problems with rubbish.

Housing minister Heather Wheeler said: “Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live.

“Today’s new guidance for landlords will further protect private renters against bad and overcrowded conditions and poor management practice."

The advice from Simple Landlord Insurance’s resident blogger, Carl Agar, (letting agent, developer, landlord and founder of the Home Safe Scheme) is not to be afraid of selective licensing, but to be involved.

He says: “Ultimately, Selective Licensing can lead to a better Private Rented Sector (PRS) and improved property performance. In the end, that’s a GOOD thing for good landlords.”

You can also take a look at Carl’s top tips for HMO investment here.

You can find the new guidelines here.