North Somerset Council halt plans for new licensing scheme
In a surprise development, North Somerset Council have halted plans to introduce a new landlord licensing scheme following objection from some local landlords.
The council had carried out a 20-week consultation on plans to improve poor-quality private rented housing in Weston super Mare town centre by introducing a selective licensing scheme. The consultation ran from 6 January to 30 May 2016, generating 151 responses with 62% in favour of the scheme. However, only 40 responses were received from landlords, of which over 70% were opposed to the scheme.
The selective licensing scheme was approved by the Council’s Executive on 21 June 2016 and was due to come into force on 1 November 2016.
The proposed licensing scheme had been challenged by some local landlords who have suggested a number of other alternatives which the council has decided to consider. The landlords, members of the Somerset Property Network, had threatened to launch a Judicial Review legal challenge in the High Court.
As a result, the council have halted plans to implement the new licensing scheme. North Somerset Council say they remain committed to driving up the standards of privately rented housing across the area. Once the additional feedback provided by landlords has been considered, they will carry out a further review of the options available to the improve the condition of privately rented homes.
In the meantime, the council have said they will continue to work with landlords to improve housing conditions for all tenants and would like to remind landlords of their legal duty to ensure the homes they let are well managed and free from serious hazards.
Paul Routledge, CEO of TenantReferencingUK.com, said:
“It is a great day for democracy and it proves it is never too late to talk. Good landlords in Weston-super-Mare are determined to rid problem landlords of our communities as much as any council; bad landlords reduce our investments and bring problems to our neighbourhoods. But the way forward is to work with the good to fight bad, so let’s hope that’s what we can do now.
“It is our intention to put together a Somerset Property Network Voluntary Charter, whereby we can submit a standard that we all believe [as landlords] should be met and work with our good tenants to provide long-term, better homes for all.“
The council are reminding landlords that their existing mandatory house in multiple occupation (HMO) and additional licensing schemes remain unaffected by this latest decision.