Durham Council waited three weeks after launching its selective licensing scheme to share the news on its website – potentially leaving some landlords in the dark.

Despite announcing it had won approval back in December for a launch on 1st April, the council’s website went quiet on the subject until 21st April.

The NRLA and other landlord groups have often criticised selective licensing schemes for their poor communication; Southend landlords were recently frustrated by their council’s failure to update them about registration delays.

Lynn Hall, Durham County Council’s strategic manager for housing, tells LandlordZONE it had previously told landlords the application process would open in early February.

She adds: “At the same time, we contacted all landlords and agents that we had email and postal addresses for and issued public notices in local and regional newspapers.

“We also shared information with local councillors, parish councils, MPs and relevant housing advice centres and agencies to ensure details of the scheme were shared as widely as possible.”

Encourage landlords

It plans to further promote the scheme over the coming months to encourage landlords to apply before compliance checks begin; they will need to fork out £500 per property for the five-year scheme, with a £60 early-bird discount available until the end of July.

At least 29,000 properties, 42% of the county’s PRS, are covered by the scheme. Durham County Council had originally approved a plan that covered 65% of the county and included 51,000 private rented properties, however following a consultation it submitted a smaller application.

rowlandson durham selective licensing

Councillor James Rowlandson (pictured) cabinet member for resources, investments and assets, says the scheme is a key objective of County Durham’s housing strategy and will raise the standards of private rented properties, improve the health and wellbeing of tenants and cut anti-social behaviour.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I was one of the people who submitted a detailed consultation response explaining why the scheme was based on seriously flawed evidence and rationale, but the consultation was of course a sham. The aim of the Council was to maximise the money it could generate from landlords to pay for employing people they had chosen not to employ before, because they did not regard poor PRS housing as high enough priority. The initial scope was a try-on they knew wouldn’t hold muster, but they then scaled it back to what they felt they could get through, so they could argue the sham consultation was meaningful. Circa 80% of landlords and over half of tenants objected, but they did it anyway. I was disgusted when a Conservative government allowed it through.

  2. Simply a job creation scheme paid for by tenants when LL increase rents to pay for the licencing costs.

    Shame Councils CAN’T just enforce existing housing legislation.

  3. Bit rich the NRLA complaining about this. Prior to merging the NLA fully supported a licensing scheme in Gt Yarmouth against the wishes of their members. All it has achieved is higher rents for tenants in order to cover landlords costs.

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