North Somerset Council has begun a consultation for a proposed new selective licensing scheme which will place strict new conditions on private landlords.
The changes would required any landlords renting properties on Weston-super-Mare seafront and in the town centre, from Birnbeck Road to Clifton Road, to get a licence. Selective licensing means all rented properties in the designated area will require a licence, not just HMO’s
Landlords will have to pay £320 for a five-year period which will cover the cost of running the scheme including inspections.
Central ward councillor Richard Nightingale who has been campaigning for a scheme said:
“If this proposed scheme is adopted it will have a major effect on the standard of rental housing in the centre of Weston.
“The amount of low quality accommodation is something that I have personally been very concerned about.
“Though some landlords are conscientious, I have seen some properties which clearly need maintenance and others where tenants feel their living standards are compromised by the conditions. Clearly this must stop. Everyone is entitled to maintained and fit accommodation.”
The local authority’s executive member for housing, Elfan Ap Rees, said the centre of Weston suffers from a concentration of poor housing. The proposed scheme will mean regular checks will be standard so issues can be flagged up before the need arises for a tenant to make a complaint.
Cllr Ap Rees said:
“Some landlords do not maintain or improve their properties even when issues are reported by tenants; this can lead to little or no pride in the neighbourhood, which affects the community.
“We have responded to local concerns and want to tackle this issue by using the new powers available to ensure landlords comply with a duty to look after their properties and cater for the basic accommodation needs of their tenants.
“Good landlords have nothing to fear from the scheme and have long complained about rogue landlords who provide the poorest accommodation for tenants who are paying to live in often damp, cold and poorly maintained accommodation.”
Consultation on the proposed new licensing scheme will end on March 18 and can be viewed at http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rented.