South Tyneside councillors look set to give the green light to a selective licensing scheme that many landlords believe is unfair – and possibly unlawful.

The authority wants to introduce the scheme in two areas of South Shields covering about 3,000 houses in Beach Road and surrounding streets and the Long Streets areas, requiring landlords of all privately-rented properties to apply for a licence.

During a consultation earlier this year, it received 49 responses including 25 objections from landlords.

Despite this, it’s pressing ahead with its plans to make landlords and their tenants more accountable for the care and cleanliness of their environment.

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“At present there is a significant cost to the council in managing these issues, causing decline in the environment, impacting community wellbeing and making these areas unattractive places to live, work and invest,” its report says.

Councillor Mark Walsh (left), lead member for housing and transport, adds: “Introducing selective licensing in these zones…would help provide tenants with a greater choice of safe, good quality and well-managed accommodation and turnover and the number of empty properties would be reduced.”

Earlier this year, the National Residential Landlords Association warned that South Tyneside’s plan to include a condition to check up on properties’ electrical safety as part of the scheme was potentially unlawful, following a Court of Appeal judgement.

If it has reasonable grounds for believing the electrical installation needs repair or upgrading the council said it would demand that a Periodic Electrical Report is carried out by a qualified electrical contractor.

The NRLA also argued that there are existing enforcement powers to root out criminal landlords, such as civil penalty orders and banning orders.

If approved at a council meeting next week, licence prices would start from about £550 per property and last five years.

A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman told LandlordZONE: “The report is going to cabinet to seek approval to progress with the scheme.

“If approved, then more detailed work on the implementation of the scheme, including the detail of issues such as licence conditions, will be developed in the coming months and will carefully consider any legal implications.”

According to the National Residential Landlords Association, although council officials have said in their report that they will remove unlawful conditions, it won’t know for sure until they’re published.

Says deputy policy director John Stewart (left): “We are concerned that a report to be considered by its cabinet does not yet include a revised set of conditions to reflect this.

“Whilst it is a case of waiting for the cabinet to decide how it wishes to proceed, we would urge caution about progressing with the scheme when just 49 people responded to the consultation of which just over half objected to it.”


4 COMMENTS

  1. The whole idea of Selective Licensing is wrong. The council should charge the landlords who don’t keep their property up to the standards, not those who are safe and conscientious landlords.
    It is a nice little earner for these councils, which is why more are jumping on the gravy train.
    In Rotherham, we completed the first scheme 4 years ago but still had to pay the 5 year price and now they are demanding it all again despite our property being in first class condition with zero complaints from tenants. It is simply legalised robbery and if the people who think these schemes up had any idea of how difficult it is for landlords to cover the extra cost of all the various new regulations, they would realise that they are ruining the PRS and soon they will have to fund the required housing demand themselves!

  2. Well said, John Mears.
    It seems that both local and national government want to punish all landlords for the misdeeds of a few.

  3. They have had this in Blackburn since 2013
    I have had to pay two lots of £550 for my rental property , first for a licence 2013 – 2018 & now 2018 – 2023
    In that time they have done absolutely nothing, I’ve sent in the gas when requested (every couple of years they usually ask)
    They just use it to supplement the council budget! Absolute con with no benefits for honest law abiding landlords

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