Council considers private landlords licence scheme in South Tyneside

Council bosses in South Tyneside are considering introducing a licencing scheme for private landlords in parts of the borough.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 1:56 pm
Updated Monday, 30th December 2019, 12:19 pm
Council bosses are looking to introduce a private landlord licencing scheme raise standards and cut costs
Council bosses are looking to introduce a private landlord licencing scheme raise standards and cut costs

The scheme – aimed at driving up standards – will be proposed to South Tyneside Council’s Cabinet next month.

Cabinet will be asked to give the go ahead to begin public consultation on the plans to introduce two selective licensing schemes – in Beacon and Bents, Simonside and Rekendyke and Westoe wards of South Shields.

These would require landlords of all privately-rented properties to operate under the terms of a licence awarded by the council.

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Coun Mark Walsh

The licences would come with a number of conditions aimed at ensuring accommodation was of a high standard and well-managed.

The council accepts that the private rented sector plays an key role in the borough’s housing market, but poor management and low standards – often due to the age of the properties – can lead to problems and one of the biggest reasons for homelessness in the borough is the failure of tenancies in private rented accommodation.

The selective licensing schemes would hold landlords and tenants more accountable for the care and cleanliness of the accommodation and surrounding area – issues which currently incur significant costs to the council.

Coun Mark Walsh, lead member for housing and transport, said: “The private rented sector in South Tyneside, as in the rest of the country, has grown significantly in recent years and plays a vital role in the local housing market.

“However there are a number of challenges associated with this kind of housing, including neglect and poor environmental conditions, leading to anti-social behaviour. Selective licensing schemes would give the council a tool to better regulate the sector.

“It would help provide tenants with a greater choice of safe, good quality and well-managed accommodation.”

For the council to be able to declare a selective licensing scheme there must be a high proportion of private rented properties and where there is at least one of the following issues – low housing demand, anti-social behaviour, high levels of deprivation or crime and high levels of migration.

Cabinet will be asked to approve the beginning of a public consultation period, which would run for a minimum of 10 weeks.