A big NE of England local authority is considering supplementing its landlord-led scheme with selective licensing in large parts of the town despite a voluntary scheme for landlords already existing.
Stockton on Tees council has launched a 10-week consultation into proposals for licensing in Central Stockton, North Thornaby and Newtown to drive up private rental property standards and management.
Its landlord-led, PLuSS scheme was set up in October 2019 as an alternative to selective licensing, with applications processed by the council. Landlords must stick to a code of conduct, which was developed and agreed by landlords and the council.
There are only 149 PLuSS members and the council says: “Poor landlords are unlikely to join or be accepted as members, which is why the mandatory approach using selective licensing powers is needed as an additional tool to address poor standards in the private rented sector.”
It adds that the council’s experience of working with PLuSS has been mixed; while most members operate in a professional manner, there had still been examples of individual landlords with little knowledge of their legal responsibilities.
However, one landlord told Teesside Live that many were very angry about the proposals. He said: “I spoke to one landlord who’s got 15 houses, he told me he's not buying 15 licences for £650 (each), he’s going to give all his tenants notice. I think you’ll find a lot of people are going to sell up if it’s approved. There’s a lot of people who are going to be displaced.”
Councillor Nigel Cooke (pictured), member for regeneration and housing, says: “Central Stockton and North Thornaby are areas in our borough experiencing low housing demand and where the number of privately rented properties far exceeds the national average, so it’s really important that people tell us what they think about the selective licensing scheme.”
If approved, the scheme is expected to be launched in June 2024.