Improving and maintaining the standard of privately-rented homes in Telford, bringing with it a reduction in littering, fly-tipping, crime and anti-social behaviour …
… those are the aims of a five year scheme to be considered for consultation by Telford and Wrekin Council’s Cabinet when it meets on Thursday 23 March.
While the Council acknowledges that many landlords provide good, well-managed and well-maintained accommodation, there are examples in the borough where properties are poorly managed.
Under the scheme, landlords and letting agents in Hadley and Leegomery, Malinslee and Hollinswood, Brookside and Sutton Hill and Woodside would be required to apply for a five year license.
All of the areas proposed have rates of fly tipping above the borough average – in some instances five times as high. They also have some of the highest rates of anti social behavior reported to the council, which impact on quality of life for residents.
Selective licensing aims to raise the standards of property in the private rented sector and improve conditions for tenants.
During the five years of the scheme, the Council will ensure landlords meet a number of conditions to provide safe and well managed homes for their tenants.
Similar schemes have been successfully introduced in places like Wolverhampton, Newcastle under Lyme, Peterborough, Salford, Scarborough, Harlow and Coventry.
The license would cost a landlord £122 (£172 a year for late applications) a year for the whole five years. Landlords will be required to comply with a set of license conditions.
These include requiring them to maintain the property to a set standard and having the appropriate safety certificates to prove it, making sure all tenants provide references and taking responsibility to address any fly-tipping, waste, pests and other aspects of anti-social behaviour at the property. Additionally landlords will also be asked to prove they are a fit and proper person to hold such a license.
A landlord found guilty of not complying with license conditions can be fined up to £5,000 per offence. Failure to license the property in the first place could lead to a £20,000 fine.
In addition to agreeing to consult on licensing in these four areas, the Council’s Cabinet is recommended to approve the re-launch of its voluntary Landlord Accreditation Scheme. This scheme offers landlords a number of benefits including; training in areas such as the law, free tenancy advice and help in promoting their accreditation.
Councillor Hilda Rhodes - Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Safety & Enforcement said: “By ensuring landlords invest in their communities as well as the properties they own we hope that, together, we can reduce anti-social behavior and improve the quality of life for everyone in the community.
“For the tenants, we want to provide reassurance that they are renting homes that are safe from a landlord they can trust. This scheme would weed out bad landlords while supporting the good ones.”
Before any such scheme can begin, the Council would need to consult for a minimum of ten weeks with the identified areas’ residents, private landlords, town and parish councils, businesses and other stakeholders.
The Council’s Cabinet is being recommended to approve the consultation. Depending on its outcome, the scheme could go live in November 2017.