NOTTINGHAM CITY COUNCIL CONSULTATION STARTS ON PROPOSED LICENSING SCHEME FOR PRIVATE RENTED HOUSES

Consultation has begun on a new licensing scheme for landlords being proposed by Nottingham City Council to improve standards in the private rented housing sector.

The consultation runs until 31 March 2017 and gives local people, tenants, landlords, letting agents and other interested individuals and organisations the chance to comment on the proposal which would see a ‘Selective Licensing’ scheme introduced requiring private landlords to obtain a license demonstrating that they and their properties met required standards.

The amount of privately rented housing in Nottingham increased by 12% between 2001 and 2011 according to Census data, 3% higher than the average for England, and indications are that it has increased significantly further still in the last five years.

However, the Council is concerned about poor standards in the city’s private rented sector having received over 4,500 complaints in the last four years about problems ranging from dangerous electrical wiring; cockroach infestations and lack of windows to smoke alarms not working and lack of safe escape. Poorly managed and maintained properties in areas with a high proportion of private rented housing are also contributing to higher levels of crime and anti-social behaviour in those neighbourhoods. 

The majority of privately rented properties would be covered by the scheme. It is anticipated that the cost of the license would be £600 for five years with a proposed £140 discount for accredited landlords. Revenue from the licenses could only be used by the Council to cover the cost of administering the scheme.

Councillor Jane Urquhart, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing, said: “The introduction of a licensing scheme for private landlords is a key objective in the Council Plan published last year in order to improve the quality of privately rented housing in the city

“People renting privately have a right to expect a decent standard of accommodation. Many of the 43,000 plus privately rented properties in the city are well-managed but, judging by the 4,500 complaints we have dealt with over the last four years, a significant number aren’t. Poorly managed properties also cause problems for local neighbourhoods affected by the crime and anti-social behaviour that can results.

“The Council believes the introduction of a licensing scheme would not only bring benefits for tenants, local communities and Council Tax payers by reducing the cost of enforcement action necessary, but also landlords who, by obtaining a license at a reasonable cost, will be able to clearly demonstrate to prospective tenants that they meet required standards.

“We’re keen for as many people as possible have their say in the consultation and tell us what they think about a the selective licensing proposal as a way of  improving the quality of privately rented accommodation in the city”.

Have your say on the proposed plans here – www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/housing/private-sector-housing/selective-licensing/

[Nottingham City Council  Housing Press Release, Monday 16  Janury 2017]