Proposals to introduce an Additional Licensing scheme for HMOs in yet another part of the country are to be discussed by a council today.
The move follows a consultation by Sandwell council which took place from January to April 2020, asking for views on plans to introduce the scheme – which would see landlords of any HMO in central West Bromwich having to apply for a licence from the council unless they already hold a mandatory HMO licence.
Under the proposed new scheme, landlords of all HMOs regardless of how many people are living there, would need to apply for a licence at a cost of £850 for a five-year period.
The consultation asked for the views of local people including private landlords, private tenants, residents, businesses and organisations in and outside of West Bromwich about the licensing schemes.
The council claims that findings from the consultation showed 77 per cent of all respondents agreeing with the proposals.
The report acknowledges the important part the private rented sector plays in providing accommodation in the borough and states there are numerous high-quality landlords and letting agents providing a range of property types in Sandwell to meet a broad range of housing needs.
In addition, the borough has experienced a major increase in private rented accommodation in some areas, including some HMOs.
Councillor Zahoor Ahmed, Sandwell’s cabinet member for housing, says: “We want to improve housing conditions and make sure that landlords are providing good quality and safe HMOs, so that tenants are protected. While we know that many already do this, there are still too many properties that are poorly managed and are in unsafe and unsatisfactory conditions.
“A new approach is needed and we believe that the Additional Licensing Scheme will improve the condition of properties, support good landlords and remove rogue landlords from operating.”
If the proposals are approved, the scheme would be introduced in April 2022, with a three-month grace period for landlords, and the council starting enforcement for unlicensed premises from 1 July 2022.
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