23rd Jan, 2019

Council to introduce scheme to boost standard of privately rented housing in Coventry

Felix Nobes 11th Jan, 2019

COVENTRY City Council could introduce two new schemes to charge landlords more and ensure they treat tenants fairly.

Leading councillors claim new licensing would boost the standard of privately rented housing in the city.

And it would combat anti-social behaviour and address inequality in areas of high crime and deprivation, they say.

It could also raise millions of pounds for council coffers.

The council will consult the public on introducing a selective licensing scheme and additional licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) for private landlords.

A 10-week consultation is now underway to enable tenants, landlords and other stakeholders and community groups to have an input.

The council has outlined 37 areas – and almost 9,000 homes – which would benefit from a Selective Licensing scheme.

It would mean that all landlords must apply for a licence if they want to rent out a property.

The council would then assess the quality of the residence and its fitness for human habitation.

It could also use tighter controls on management, health and safety issues.

Under proposals a selective licence will cost around £380 for five years, which equates to £6 per month or £76 per year.

The 37 areas identified by the council are locations which have more than 20 per cent of houses that are privately rented – often much more.

The council also claims Additional Licensing of HMOs is required across the whole city, to boost standards in multi-occupancy properties.

Councillor Ed Ruane, cabinet member for housing, said: “We need to ensure that standards of housing is better in the private housing sector.

“The aim of a property licensing scheme is to improve the way that private landlords maintain their properties, and interact with neighbouring properties.

“It would also help us to monitor the behaviour of tenants both in the way properties are maintained but also issues that affect neighbours.

He added: “It’s important that we should consult on this and talk to all groups.

“The power was intended to address the impact of poor quality private landlords and anti-social tenants.

“Other local authorities have operated similar licensing schemes in such a way that benefits landlords that are compliant and provides incentives to improve compliance.”

Charities and landlords which help the council house the homeless may not be charged, with each case considered on its merits, the council says.

Both schemes could take effect and start in 2020 and run for five years, it adds.

The consultation runs from the January 9 to March 20. The consultation can be accessed at www.coventry.gov.uk/propertylicensing

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