Sheffield council is to consider a city-wide selective licensing scheme, a move that has been hailed as a victory by fast-growing tenant advocacy organisation Acorn.

The campaign group has presented a list of 50 rogue landlords to council officers and also begun campaigning on the streets to highlight its calls for a city-wide scheme.

Like many other metropolitan areas around the UK, this would see all landlords required to register and licence their properties, usually for a fee of between £500 and £750 payable every five years.

The undertaking from the council was made by neighbourhoods and communities councillor Paul Wood following a question by an Acorn representative during the most recent full meeting of the council.

She said: “We believe this is a crisis that requires urgent action. We have seen landlords refusing to fix mould, not lodging deposits and executing revenge evictions. Acorn is calling on the council to introduce city-wide licensing for rental properties.”

Wood replied, saying that the council takes PRS landlords and the quality of their housing very seriously, and that his department had recently introduced a council-accredited landlord scheme and was about to invest heavily in enforcement after years of under-funding.

He said a working group was looking at extending the city’s selective licensing scheme, and would consider both the additional costs and establish which areas most needed selective licensing.

The promise by Sheffield to examine a city-wide scheme is an example of the growing influence of Acorn, which has expanded rapidly both geographically and in influence in recent years, moving from tackling individual cases of rogue landlord activity to wider policy-driven campaigning.

“After years of fighting for a crackdown on Sheffield’s rogue landlords, union power is finally getting big results from the council,” it said on Twitter.

Sheffield already has selective licensing in three areas of the city which were introduced in late 2018. Last year its landlords association was disbanded and became a district of the NRLA.

Predictably, Acorn make no mention of a recent survey of tenants in the UK published in January. It revealed that landlords in Sheffield were among some of the best in the UK.

PIC credit: Monika Kostera via Flikr.


  1. Cost increases for tenants

    This is nothing more than a money making scam , good landlords get extra costs, poor land Lords will simply ignore it

    Landlords refusing to fix mould is no doubt due to mould being caused by tenants in adequately ventilating the property.

  2. “We believe this is a crisis that requires urgent action. We have seen landlords refusing to fix mould, not lodging deposits and executing revenge evictions. ”

    Mould usually caused by tenants
    Not lodging deposits can result in 3 x deposit compensation
    Eviction (revenge or not) have been impossible for months

    So….selective licensing will not stop this but it will increase rents – Well Done Acorn!

  3. Mould in property is usually when the property is not ventilated it is usually people living in the property.
    Councils jump on the band wagon so get more money in their coffers. And do not enforce the laws they already have. They have enough laws to enforce the laws if they seriously take the issues on board.
    Yet they can’t even identify substandard properties in their area but hide behind ill informed so called charities and pressure groups.
    If landlords cannot decent returns from their investment then they will pull out. It is a business after all
    Wait to see days when there is not enough housing and rent rises , and council go begging to landlords to help them out.
    Tenants will end up paying higher rent.
    Private rental properties on the whole are better managed than those on social housing and managed by councils.
    Now we have ill informed clueless councillors making policies on the whim and desperate to get media attention.


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