Calls for extension of ‘excellent’ Peterborough landlord licensing scheme after crackdown on rogues

Landlords in Peterborough have been fined under a new licensing scheme which has seen repairs ordered on thousands of city properties.

Sunday, 17th March 2019, 11:00 am
A property in Dogsthorpe Road which was found to be inadequate when inspected. Photo: Peterborough City Council

Peterborough City Council introduced selective licensing in December 2016 in a bid to tackle rogue landlords.

The scheme forces landlords to hold a licence (now costing £600) for each property they rent out in nine different areas of the city.

A new report into the scheme has revealed that landlords have been found guilty in court on 10 occasions for not holding a licence, while on three occasions civil penalties have been issued under new government powers, allowing the council to issue larger fines than the courts.

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Moreover, out of nearly 7,000 property inspections which have been undertaken since the scheme began, 2,627 (38 per cent) required repairs and a full inspection to be carried out by a housing enforcement officer.

On top of that, the council said applications for gas safety certificates in the month before selective licensing began showed 18 per cent of properties were previously without one.

On Tuesday members of the council’s Adults & Communities Scrutiny Committee unanimously voted to extend the scheme, which covers all privately rented properties in parts, or all of: Central, North, East, Park, Fletton, Bretton North, Stanground Central, Walton and Orton Longueville wards.

They also want to see it spread further across the city.

Jo Bezant, council manager of housing enforcement and selective licencing, said: “This scheme has been very successful in forcing poor landlords in the private sector from renting accommodations which are unsuitable or badly maintained. We would like the scheme to continue and to extend it to through until the end of October 2021.”

Cllr Ray Bisby (Conservative) said: “This is an excellent scheme and proof that when organised we can crackdown on bad landlords taking advantage of tenants renting properties from them.”

Cllr Angus Ellis (Labour) added: “Like many councillors I was dubious about this licencing process when it was announced back in 2016, but I can see that it has been a huge success and would definitely support a recommendation that it be extended to 2021 and instigated city-wide.”

Emma Dighton, director at Belvoir Peterborough, told the Peterborough Telegraph: “Most landlords that we speak to have welcomed the scheme as long as the council use it to its full potential to prosecute and stop the rogue landlords and not use it as a tax for the good ones.

“It has been encouraging to see the council actively locate and pursue the landlords of privately rented properties that do not have a licence. Whilst there are still some flaws with the scheme, mainly centred around the administering of the licence, we believe that on the whole it has had a positive effect.”