Successful landlord licence scheme could be extended to more Rotherham communities

More private landlords could be forced to take up a licence to rent out their properties in Rotherham, following the success of a project already operating in the town.

By Paul Whitehouse
Wednesday, 10 April, 2019, 08:20
Licence to rent: Parkgate could be covered by a mandatory scheme

Rotherham Council introduced a system called selective licencing, which requires private landlords to acquire a licence from the authority, in Masborough, Eastwood, part of Maltby and Dinnington, with results regarded as successful by officials.

Now the council wants to extend the scheme into Parkgate and Thurcroft.

The idea is to improve the quality of rented homes by ensuring landlords meet a set of conditions set out under the licence agreement.

That has been possible since the introduction of the 2004 Housing Act but has become and increasing issue as numbers of privately owned rental properties have grown in recent years.

Selective licencing also has advantages for landlords, because there is also help to ensure their tenants behave reasonably.

Members of the council’s ruling Cabinet will decide whether to move forwards with the proposals, which have widespread support in the two communities.

In Parkgate, 70 per cent of those who took part in consultations by the council were in favour of the scheme, with 64 per cent approving in Thurcroft.

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If introduced the schemes will be mandatory, meaning any landlords in the area will have no option but to sign up and comply with the regulations.

Where they have already been introduced, the council believes conditions for those who rent their homes have been improved, with 97 per cent of those inspected now meeting minimum standards set down to protect the health and safety of those who live in them.

Coun Dominic Beck, Cabinet spokesman for housing, said: “There is a high reliance on the private sector for housing in both Thurcroft and Parkgate, communities which face particular issues in terms of unemployment, poor health, and higher levels of crime than the average.

“We know that by improving housing conditions, we can have a direct impact on the quality of life for both tenants and others in the community, so I was pleased to see such strong support from local residents for the proposal.

“The first stage of our selective licensing scheme showed how by working with landlords we can have a big impact on housing conditions, but also be in a position to take enforcement action on those landlords who let their tenants down when we have to.” 

Licences come at a cost to landlords, who have to pay to take part in the scheme.