Durham has been given the green light for a huge new selective licensing scheme '� although it is 40% smaller than its original plan.
The scheme will cover about 29,000 homes, 42% of the county's private rented sector, and will go live on 1st April when landlords will need a licence to rent their properties.
Durham County Council had originally approved a scheme that covered 65% of the county and included 51,000 private rented properties but Lynn Hall, strategic manager for housing, tells LandlordZONE: 'We consulted with landlords, tenants and residents on our plans for a selective licensing scheme last year.
"Having taken their feedback on board, we submitted a smaller application which was approved by cabinet in September 2020.'�
This has now been signed off by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and the application process opens for landlords in early February. The licence fee is �500 for a five-year period, although if landlords meet certain criteria this will be cut to �350.
Part of the County Durham Housing Strategy 2019 to 2024, which aims to maintain and improve standards across the county's housing stock and wider housing environment, the scheme aims to create long-term, sustainable neighbourhoods by ensuring that any privately rented properties are well managed and in good condition.
Durham County Council has already run three selective licensing schemes in Dean Bank, Ferryhill, Chilton West and Wembley in Easington Colliery, that all ended in 2019.
It has reported that these made a positive impact, with a drop in reported crime and anti-social behaviour and positive improvements in both the condition and management of private rented properties.
Councillor James Rowlandson (pictured), cabinet member for resources, investments and assets, says: 'By raising the management and maintenance standards of private rented properties, we can help to improve the health and wellbeing of tenants and reduce anti-social behaviour in our communities.
It will also allow us to better support landlords and ensure they have the right tools to deliver a high standard of service in the sector.'�