STOCKTON-on-Tees Borough Council is consulting on plans to improve private sector housing standards in two areas of the Borough.
On Thursday 12 July the Council’s Cabinet looked at proposals to introduce Selective Licensing of private rented housing within Central Stockton and North Thornaby.
Councillors agreed to pursue the scheme and a public consultation on the proposals is now under way to seek views before any decisions are taken.
Why is a Selective Licensing scheme being proposed?
In November, Cabinet agreed to support a ‘targeted action area’ based approach in these areas, with the aim of tackling issues associated with poor property management by some private sector landlords. This approach would see the council provide a visible neighbourhood management presence, working alongside partners and the local community to identify and address issues. At the heart of this approach is a proposal to introduce a Selective Licensing Scheme.
What is Selective Licensing?
Under the scheme private landlords within designated areas in Central Stockton and North Thornaby will be legally required to get a licence from the Council for each property that they rent out. The licence will have conditions attached to ensure properties are safe and well-managed. Failure to obtain a licence when a property is let could lead to an unlimited fine or a Civil Penalty up to £30,000.
What benefits will it bring for landlords, residents and local communities?
The Council proposes to use selective licensing as a tool alongside a range of other measures to help raise standards in the private rented sector, address low housing demand and achieve a more balanced housing market. It will help tackle rogue landlords and will also bring a wide range of positive benefits for tenants, responsible landlords and the wider community.
Will landlords have to pay for a licence?
The proposed cost for a standard licence will be £245 for an application, with an annual fee of £140 for the five year period of the licence. A discount of £100 per property will be offered for members of the Council’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme or for full members of the National Landlords Association or the Residential Landlords Association.
Is the Council using selective licensing fees to raise money?
No. The scheme has been designed to be cost neutral as required by the Housing Act 2004. Fees collected will fund the cost of additional resources, administration and enforcement within the target areas.
What do councillors think?
Councillor Nigel Cooke, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Housing, said: “We are really keen to hear people’s views on these proposals, which if implemented will take a robust stance on improving standards in the private rented housing sector.
“We believe these proposals will greatly help us improve the areas concerned and will bring lasting benefits for all - the landlords, residents and the wider local community. Your views are important to us so make sure you have your say.”
How can I have a say on the proposals?
To make sure have your say about the Selective Licensing proposal please visit www.stockton.gov.uk/selectivelicensing
Those living within the proposed designated area and immediate vicinities will be contacted directly with copies of the consultation questionnaire.
The Council is also holding a series of information sessions where Council officers will be available to answer questions about the proposals.
- Thursday 2 August, 10am – 12noon at Yarm Road Methodist Church, Stockton, TS18 3NW
- Thursday 9 August, 2pm – 4pm at the Riverbank Centre, Gilmour Street, Thornaby, TS17 6PF
- Wednesday 15 August, 5pm – 7pm at the Jim Cooke Suite within Stockton Library
- Friday 17 August, 2pm – 4pm at the Salvation Army Citadel, Palmerston Street TS18 1NU
- Wednesday 29 August, 5pm – 7pm at the Riverbank Centre, Gilmour Street, Thornaby, TS17 6PF
Landlord only events
- Thursday 2 August, 5pm – 7pm at the Jim Cooke Suite within Stockton Library
- Monday 20 August, 10am – 12noon at the Jim Cooke Suite within Stockton Library
When will the consultation close?
The consultation is open until 4pm on Monday 8 October.
Where can I find out more?
For more information, including maps and a full list of streets proposed for inclusion in the designation area, please visit www.stockton.gov.uk/selectivelicensing