A new selective landlord licensing scheme will be introduced by Peterborough City Council in parts of the city where there are high levels of privately rented accommodation, after the initiative received the green light from the government.
The council says that the initiative, which will be introduced in designated areas later this year, is designed to improve standards of accommodation in the private rented sector and tackle rogue landlords.
All private landlords with residential property in the designated areas now have until 1 December 2016, when the scheme is introduced, to apply for a licence for each of their properties. Failure to do so would result in enforcement action being taken which could lead to an unlimited fine.
Landlords who apply for their licences between 1 September 2016 and 30 November 2016 will be charged £50 for a licence per dwelling if they are accredited with a nationally recognised organisation such as the National Landlords’ Association or Residential Landlords’ Association, or if the property is managed through an agent registered with the Association of Residential Letting Agents.
Landlords without this accreditation will be charged £600 per property for a single let property or £750 for a house in multiple occupation (HMO). Landlords who fail to register their property by 1 December 2016 will be charged £900.
To obtain a licence, landlords will have to meet certain standards and comply with conditions which include ensuring the property has a gas safety certificate, working smoke alarms and safe electrical appliances and furniture. Landlords are also required to provide appropriate tenancy agreements and acquire references from prospective tenants. These requirements are mandatory licence conditions.
The landlords will also be required to meet a host of other criteria set by the council, which includes monitoring overcrowding, resolving anti-social behaviour and legally removing tenants where there is evidence of criminal activity or anti-social behaviour, ensuring properties are in good condition and free of waste at the start of each tenancy, as well as advising and reminding tenants of their responsibilities for the storage and disposal of household waste.
Cllr Irene Walsh, cabinet member for communities and environment capital for Peterborough City Council, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the team at the council that has worked incredibly hard to achieve a scheme that now has the approval of the secretary of state and should lead to a marked improvement in the standard of privately rented accommodation across the city.
“Many landlords provide decent, well-managed and well-maintained accommodation, which does not cause any problems for the local community. There are, however, also properties that are poorly managed, suffer from overcrowding, or provide unsafe accommodation. These properties have a negative impact on the tenants, their neighbours and whole communities.
“The introduction of selective licensing will allow us to have a more active role in ensuring all private tenants are able to live in housing that is safe, of high standard, appropriately managed and offers appropriate tenancy protection. It will also improve the quality of life for everyone in an area by ensuring a consistently high standard of privately rented accommodation.”