A local authority has taken the unusual decision to ditch its additional licensing scheme because it has done such a good job of improving standards.
Bath and North East Somerset Council introduced the scheme five years ago, covering 1,280 properties in Bath, including 823 previously unlicensed HMOs. This ends on 31st December, but the council is now only considering the evidence for any future schemes.
The current scheme resulted in more than 1,000 fire safety, heating, security, space and amenities improvements, including 293 upgrades to fire alarm systems. It also prompted more awareness of safety and amenities requirements for shared housing while the council increased its knowledge about the location and ownership of HMOs in Bath.
Councillor Matt McCabe (pictured), cabinet member for built environment and sustainable development, explains that the additional scheme has done what it set out to do: improve standards and keep tenants safe by ensuring the effective and appropriate management of a property.
He adds: “Importantly it has also helped to reduce the impact of poor HMOs on the community. However, we will continue to review all the evidence available to us over the coming months, to see if we need to begin a new scheme.
“I want to assure everyone that the mandatory HMO licensing, introduced by the Housing Act 2004, continues to operate in Bath and North East Somerset and applies to shared houses or flats occupied by five or more people from different families where tenants share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.
"It covers around 1,200 properties across [the city and region].”