Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 gave local authorities the power to designate areas of selective licensing to help tackle concerns over anti-social behaviour and low housing demand.
In 2015, the conditions for designation were expanded to include poor property conditions, high crime, high levels of deprivation and high migration. Local authorities can designate an area for selective licensing for five years.
Subject to limited exemptions, a valid licence must be held by the appropriate responsible person in respect of all privately rented properties in such a designated area, typically the landlord or managing agent.
Councils charge a fee for the Licence, usually on a per property basis, but can only use that fee to run the scheme.
Council housing, Social Housing Providers, specialist Student Housing, properties leased to other council's tenant relocation schemes, emergency accommodation, Asylum seekers, holiday lets and Air B&B are not covered by Selective Licensing.
UKwide private rentals provide about 20% of accommodation - about the same as Social Housing providers. There are much higher percentages of private rentals in London and the South East which has a significant effect on headlines.