Great Yarmouth Borough Council starts inspections to improve private rented housing under Selective Licensing Scheme
GREAT Yarmouth Borough Council has started inspections of private rented housing under a new Selective Licensing Scheme designed to improve living conditions and quality of life for private sector tenants, while taking proactive action against unethical landlords.
Following public consultation, the council introduced in January the five-year scheme for the most challenged parts of the Nelson Ward, requiring landlords of most private rented housing there, except those already subject to mandatory HMO licensing, to be licensed and meet conditions around health and safety and standards.
As about 60 per cent of the accommodation there is in the private rented sector, improved property management standards should contribute to an overall improvement in well-being, health and life chances for vulnerable tenants, lifting the whole community, while creating a level playing-field for the many ethical landlords by making it harder for unethical landlords to prosper.
The council is working with its delivery partner Home Safe to administer the scheme, carrying out proactive inspection of properties to identify sub-standard landlords and ensure compliance, completing an MOT-style checklist to highlight issues for improvement to landlords, along with deadlines for undertaking work.
Responsible landlords and residents are encouraged to assist by reporting to the council for investigation both suspected breaches of licence conditions and also unlicensed properties. Tenants are advised to ask their landlord about their licence status. People can report concerns by calling the Selective Licensing Team on 01493 846636, emailing email@example.com or completing a form anonymously at www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk/selective-licensing
Enforcement will take place on a case-by-case basis. Landlords who break the rules, or simply fail to apply for a licence, risk financial penalties, prosecution, civil penalties or landlord banning orders. The National Landlords Association is in support of the scheme.
Cllr Andy Grant, chairman of the housing and neighbourhoods committee, said: "Through Selective Licensing, the council is working proactively with landlords to improve living conditions and quality of life for vulnerable tenants in our most challenged communities, while making it harder for unethical landlords to prosper.
"So far, 355 inspections have taken place and we will continue to monitor properties to ensure that hazards or defects are addressed. The full first-year inspection programme is expected to be completed by January, and the council continues to identify and tackle any properties which should have a licence.
"I would encourage our many responsible landlords and residents to assist by reporting to the council for investigation both suspected breaches of licence conditions and also unlicensed properties.
"However, I'm pleased to report that more than 80 per cent of properties estimated to require a Selective Licence have applied, and most have chosen to apply via our delivery partner Home Safe to get access to a range of offers, services, discounts, landlord advice and training, plus the option of lower application fees and flexible monthly payment."
Aside from any license issued, where any property is being used as a House in Multiple Occupation within the borough, planning permission will also be required. Advice is available via firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Customer Contact Centre on 01493 856100.