A city has been refused permission to introduce a licensing scheme that would have affected some 3,000 rental homes.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council wanted to introduce selective licensing covering 154 streets in 14 areas.
However, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has turned down the application, saying it did not meet the statutory criteria.
The plans had been opposed by landlords, but had been put forward by the council following a public consultation.
A council spokesperson said: “We can confirm we have received notification from the government department on this. We are in dialogue with the department about the decision.”
MHCLG has not given an exact reason for refusing the scheme, but councils have to seek its permission for any selective licensing scheme covering over 20% of their geographical area, or which would affect more than 20% of privately rented homes.
Local authorities have to demonstrate that areas have a high proportion of privately rented homes, and at least one other criteria, including poor property conditions and high levels of crime.
Among authorities planning new licensing schemes are two in London, Lewisham and Islington.