Leading landlord slams new licensing scheme in South Shields, claiming it will only penalise those who abide by rules

A South Tyneside landlord leader has slammed new licensing rules coming into force in South Shields, describing them as a “money-making exercise” – a claim the council denies.

Saturday, 2nd January 2021, 9:40 am
The new scheme will cover the Beach Road and 'Long Streets' area

The scheme will apply to privately-rented properties within two designated zones in South Shields – Beach Road and its surrounding streets and the ‘Long Streets’ area – and aims to drive up housing standards.

Landlords will have to operate under the terms of a licence awarded by the council, which demands a fee of around £550 per property for a five-year period.

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Colin Campbell. Picture by FRANK REID

as deprivation levels and low housing demand.

South Tyneside Council has also stressed the scheme will be “self-financing and non-profit-making.”

According to a council report, several landlords expressed “serious reservations” about the move during consultation, with many feeling the fee was “unaffordable and unfair.”

Colin Campbell, who is chair of the borough’s Landlords’ Association, shared similar views, describing the scheme as a “money-making exercise” and questioning how effective it would be in practice.

The new scheme will cover the Beach Road and 'Long Streets' area

With legislation already existing to monitor housing standards in the private rented sector, he explained, the scheme would effectively “penalise” landlords who already abide by the rules.

Mr Campbell also raised concerns that rogue landlords would not identify themselves as renting out properties, thereby dodging the fees and undermining the licensing scheme.

He added: “Selective licensing is bringing good landlords down for no reason, it’s bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake.”

Council chiefs have previously defended the scheme, saying it aims to drive up housing standards while providing extra support for landlords.A report to cabinet in November 2020 said the Beach Road and Long Streets areas were chosen based on supporting evidence and data relating to the proportion of private rented properties in those areas and other factors such

A council spokesman said: “The private rented sector plays an important role in South Tyneside’s housing market, but some areas present challenges where properties have been subject to neglect, leading to increased anti-social behaviour, general area decline and a high turnover of tenancies.

“The introduction of selective licensing in these areas provides the council with an opportunity to drive up standards and reduce turnover in some of the worst privately-rented accommodation.

“It will enable the council to engage with and provide additional focused support to landlords and tenants within those areas and work towards a more desirable and sustainable housing environment.

“The scheme will be self-financing and non-profit-making over the five-year-period, with the fees covering the cost of the additional resources required to make the desired improvements to the area.

“Officers will be proactive in identifying tenanted accommodation and engaging with landlords to pursue payment throughout the period of the scheme.

“Any income generated will be used for the running of the scheme or improvements in the licensed areas.”

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