Further information

There must be a licence holder for each property

You do not have to own a property to be the licence holder.

However, a licence holder should be the person in ‘control’ of the property – in other words, the person who receives the rent.

Apart from the owner, the licence holder could also be:

  • a managing agent
  • the manager of the property
  • the leaseholder of the property

You need a licence for every property you own

Landlords must pay £700 per licence for each property they own in a ward covered by the scheme. There are no discounts for landlords with more than one property. For example, if you own 10 properties, you will have to pay for 10 licences.

An empty property does not need a licence

You do not need a selective licence if your property is empty.

Getting a licence is not automatic

There is no ‘tacit consent’ when you apply for a licence. If you have not heard from us within 28 days of submitting your application for a licence, email us at pl@birmingham.gov.uk.

You have to tell us about anyone with an interest in your property when you apply

‘Anyone with an interest’ could mean a mortgage company, bank, building society or freeholder.

You cannot transfer a licence

If you sell your property, the new landlord will have to apply for their own licence. You cannot transfer a licence to someone else.

Overseas landlords

Overseas landlords can hold a selective licence though we will usually expect that you have someone local to manage the property.

You will need to explain how you intend to look after the property from where you live if there is no local manager.

We grant licences to overseas landlords on a case-by-case basis.

Fire and other safety requirements

Any property you rent out must be safe for your tenants to live in.

Safety requirements include:

  • a smoke alarm on every level of a property used for living accommodation
  • a carbon monoxide alarm in each room used for living accommodation where there is a fixed combustible appliance other than a gas cooker
  • furniture and furnishings meeting fire regulations

We have more information about the safety requirements you need to understand as a landlord.

GOV.UK also has information about safety responsibilities for landlords.

Selective licensing conditions

There are conditions you will be expected to meet when we give you a selective licence. These conditions cover things such as health and safety, security and reducing anti-social behaviour.

Read our selective licence conditions.


We can accept payment by credit and debit card. We take all major cards including American Express.

We do not offer an instalment plan, but we will ask you to give us a continuous payment authority on your debit or credit card when you pay for your licence.

This means we will take £375 when you apply for the licence and £325 when we have issued your draft licence – a total of £700.

Contact us at pl@birmingham.gov.uk if you are not able to use a credit or debit card to pay for your licence(s).

Your licence runs five years from the date we issue it.

Temporary exemption notices

A temporary exemption notice (TEN) means we agree you do not need a selective licence for your property. A TEN usually lasts three months.

Reasons why we might allow a TEN include:

  • you are selling the property – particularly if the new owner is not going to use the property in a way that would need a licence
  • you are planning to stop renting the property out – this could happen if, for example, you are intending to move into the property yourself

You will not need a TEN if your property is empty or going to be empty for a while.

Email us at pl@birmingham.gov.uk if you want to know more about applying for a TEN.

Check the address of your property

Find My Address is a free service that tells you the exact address of your property.

Find My Address can also tell you the unique property reference number (UPRN) for your property.

Find your freeholder

You may need to speak to your freeholder as part of your licence application.

You can find your freeholder and other information about the property by searching the Land Register.

Public Register

We are required under the Housing Act 2004 to maintain a register of current licences, temporary exemption notices and interim management orders. This must include information as listed in The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Misc. Provisions)(England) Regulations 2006.

You can find limited information on whether a property is included by searching the Public Register.

Why we have brought in selective licensing

Birmingham’s private rented sector is growing. Selective licensing aims to help the council address the high levels of crime and deprivation found in the scheme’s designated wards.

The scheme will also help to improve standards in private rented homes. Tenants can be more confident that the property is safe to live in. This should help improve their quality of life.

Selective licensing is also credited with making an area more attractive. This can help stimulate investment, boost local economies and potentially create jobs.

You can read more about selective licensing and why we have introduced it in our evidence report. We produced this as part of our public consultation in 2021.

Page last updated: 28 September 2023

rating button