By Local Democracy Reporter
TENANTS living in private rented properties could benefit from wide-ranging council support with the introduction of a landlord licencing scheme.
The scheme would see landlords having to pay hundreds of pound to the council in order to obtain a licence and they would then be held to account by the council which would proactively ensure tenants are secure, protected from illegal evictions and repairs are carried out.
If a landlord fails to apply for a licence they could be prosecuted and face an unlimited fine.
The council will discuss whether it would be appropriate to introduce the scheme during a meeting next week.
A report published ahead of that meeting explains that it is being explored to address the impact of “poor quality private landlords and anti-social tenants” in the private rented accommodation sector.
Landlords would be expected to pay between £500 and £600 per property and the income generated would be used to pay for the implementation of operation of the scheme, so there would no added cost to taxpayers.
It would also only be introduced in certain designated areas rather than the whole borough.
If the council’s Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee agrees the scheme should move forward, there will be an 11-week consultation where landlords, tenants and residents can provide feedback.
It will be the second landlord licencing scheme to be introduced by the council after already implementing a scheme at the beginning of June for landlords renting shared houses or flats to three or four unrelated people, also known as houses of multiple occupation (HMO).
This HMO licence works alongside a UK-wide scheme which applies to homes rented to five or more unrelated people.
Councillor Barry Johnson, portfolio holder for housing, said: “We support responsible landlords in supplying good quality and safe homes to residents, but sadly there are those who fail to provide acceptable living conditions and don’t have adequate protection in place for their tenants or neighbouring homes.
“We believe everyone should have a good quality place to live and tightening the regulations around more shared houses and flats will assist us in ensuring privately rented homes are safe and well managed.”
It is estimated there is up to 14,000 properties in the private rented sector in Thurrock.