Peterborough Council plans to extend scheme designed to ensure high standards of homes for rent in city

Peterborough City Council has revealed plans to extend a scheme designed to ensure rental properties on offer in the city are of a high standard.

By Stephen Briggs
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 10:43 am
Updated Monday, 24th January 2022, 9:30 am
Peterborough Town Hall EMN-210809-085709009

A public consultation to gain views on a proposed new selective licensing scheme will run for 12 weeks, from today (Thursday 20 January) to Wednesday 13 April 2022.

The consultation will ask for views on the previous scheme, which launched in 2016 and expired in October 2021, and potential for introducing a new scheme. It will include views from landlords, tenants and residents of the areas being considered for selective licensing and those adjacent to them, as well as community, political and business stakeholders.

The consultation will include a flyer being sent to each household in the proposed selective licensing areas and adjacent wards. A series of webinars will be held, which will offer the chance to find out more about the proposed scheme, and ask any questions you might have.

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Selective licensing requires landlords in designated areas to apply for a licence for each of their properties which would only be granted if certain standards were met.

The original scheme was a great success - with reports of anti-social behaviour decreasing at a faster rate in the chosen areas than across the whole city. The council is planning to submit an application to the Government for a new scheme, with a 12-week public consultation being launched today (20 January).

If the application is accepted, the number of areas covered by selective licensing would increase to include areas within: Bretton, Central, East, Fletton & Woodston, Fletton & Stanground, Paston & Walton, North, Orton Waterville, Park and Stanground South.

Councillor Steve Allen, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Communities at Peterborough City Council, said: “Selective licensing was introduced to improve rental properties in Peterborough and reduce anti-social behaviour, and on both criteria is has proven a success, leading to calls for it to be extended across the city.

“Selective licensing can only be introduced in areas which meet set criteria laid down by the Government, and the new scheme we intend to submit has been chosen following extensive evidence gathering by officers.

“As a city the percentage of private rental stock has increased from 19% in 2016 to 25% today, and demand for properties across the city remains high.

“We remain determined to make sure all homes are of a high quality and selective licensing is one approach to meeting this aim, with a new Housing Strategy also to be published next year.”

Selective licensing can only be introduced in areas where more than 19% of the properties are privately rented, and if one of or more of the following conditions are met:

• Low housing demand (or is likely to become such an area)

• A significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour

• Poor property conditions

• High levels of migration

• High levels of deprivation

• High levels of crime.

Since introducing selective licensing in 2016, the council has received 8,995 applications, with more than 7,900 licences being granted, 660 rejected and over 240 revoked. A further 200 properties are still under investigation as potentially being unlicensed.

Twenty two legal cases have been carried out against landlords and letting agencies who were issued with civil penalties or prosecuted.

During the original scheme, more than 7,200 properties had an initial inspection, which has led to issues including excess cold, damp and mould, and electrical fire safety hazards, being identified and fixed.

More information can be found on the council’s website https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/council/consultations/selective-licensing-consultation, including full details of the proposed scheme, registration links for the webinars, a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions section and links to the consultation surveys. A dedicated email address has also been set up: [email protected]