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Safer housing - managing privately rented accommodation

The Safer Housing team in Nottingham City Council manage thousands of licensing applications and checks per year. Using the UPRN helps them to make huge gains in efficiency, both in cost and time saved.

houses in Nottingham

Private rented property

The Safer Housing team is responsible for the licensing of privately rented accommodation within Nottingham, running three different licensing schemes: mandatory, additional, and selective.

Properties will fall under different schemes depending on various criteria, with the aim to ensure that privately rented accommodation within Nottingham is safe and secure and that landlords are fit and proper persons to rent out a property. A failure to license a property can result in a landlord facing a financial penalty notice of up to £30,000 an unlimited court imposed fine, repayment of 12 months rental income to either the council or tenants, and potential loss of control over the rental property.

Licensing revenue

The licensing scheme is a source of revenue for the council with, for example, a selective licence costing £890 per property remaining valid for five years. Over the period 2020-22 there were on average 3,472 licence applications made per year (2,435 selective, 521 additional and 517 mandatory) with an annual income to the council of £4.6 million.

In addition to the general licensing of privately rented accommodation, the team is also tasked to undertake proactive enforcement where either licence conditions have been broken, or a rented property that requires a licence is currently unlicensed.

Information management

Much of the data required to check licence applications or undertake enforcement checks is held in external databases, and in addition the team will also search records of property sales within the boundaries of Nottingham City.

The role of the UPRN

Using the UPRN as a unique identifier for a property ties all the various datasets together and makes both the licensing team and the enforcement team more efficient in their work. For the licensing team, the licence application process and issue could be undertaken without the UPRN linkage; however, we estimate that this would increase the time taken to process a single application by around 15% (from 4.78 hours to 5.5 hours).


Over a year this efficiency gain equates to savings of around £125,000 to £130,000 for the council. For the enforcement team the efficiency gains come from two sources: the time saved in pre-enforcement investigations and the search and record creation time saved during actual enforcement investigations.

The estimate of the savings is around £50,000 per year for pre enforcement investigations and £37,000 to £40,000 per year for enforcement investigations.

The overall efficiency gain to the council for licensing and enforcement is in the range of £212,000 to £220,000 per year.

This case study appears alongside several other case studies in a report on a return investment analysis that was carried out with Nottingham City Council.

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