New scheme approved to help beat trouble in Beach Road area of South Shields

Beach Road, South ShieldsBeach Road, South Shields
Beach Road, South Shields
New licensing rules to help improve housing standards in the private rented sector are set to come into force, following a decision by council chiefs.

South Tyneside Council’s cabinet approved the selective licensing measures this week, which will come online from April 1, 2021.

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.

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Landlords will have to operate under the terms of a licence awarded by the council, with conditions aiming to ensure accommodation is of a high standard and well-managed.

A stretch of Beach Road in South ShieldsA stretch of Beach Road in South Shields
A stretch of Beach Road in South Shields

“We recognise the important role that the private rented sector plays in the housing offer within South Tyneside and want to ensure that our residents have a good choice of high standard accommodation,” said councillor Mark Walsh, cabinet member for housing and transport.

“Selective licensing supports this ambition and is aimed at providing tenants greater choice of safe, good quality and well-managed accommodation as well as reducing anti-social behaviour, turnover of accommodation and improving our local neighbourhoods.”

Cllr Walsh was speaking at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday November 4, which was held via videolink and broadcast on YouTube as part of the council’s social-distancing policies.

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According to the council’s website, the estimated cost of a selective licence would be around £550 per property for a five-year period and payable over two parts.

Formal consultation was carried out earlier this year, with letters sent to more than 4,000 households, landlords and businesses in the proposed areas as well as drop-in sessions and presentations at landlords’ forums.

The council received 49 responses by email and post and 25 objected to the scheme – with the majority of objections from landlords and landlords also living in the affected areas.

According to cabinet papers, landlords had “serious reservations” about the move with many feeling the fee was “unaffordable and unfair.”

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However, the cabinet report confirms the council will “look to introduce different methods by which landlords can pay their licence fee in order to reduce the impact of the fee.”

Cllr Walsh went on to say: “The scheme will support tenants and encourage landlords to be responsible and accountable for their properties resulting in long-term and more sustainable tenancies.

“It will also support landlords in terms of managing their properties effectively and offering services to enable them to run their businesses professionally.

“The areas proposed have been selected based on supporting evidence and data relating to the high proportion of private rented properties in those areas, deprivation levels, crime and anti-social behaviour and low housing demand.”

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Following cabinet approval, the selective licensing regime will be introduced in the Beach Road and Long Streets areas from April next year for a five-year period.

The scheme will also be developed to be ‘self-financing’, with any income generated used for the running of the scheme or improvements in the licensed areas.

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