Serious hazards identified through Peterborough landlord licensing scheme
Serious hazards have been identified as part of a landlord licensing scheme introduced by Peterborough City Council.
The council brought in Selective Licensing in 2016 to improve the standards of rental properties in certain areas of the city.
And according to a new report issued by the authority, 227 properties which have been inspected over the past five years have had category one hazards (the most serious) identified within them.
Moreover, a further 551 homes are still to be inspected which have been “identified as likely to have category one hazards at the first inspection,” although Covid restrictions have “severely hampered the inspection process which has only just started again”.
Selective licensing currently covers all privately rented properties in parts, or all of: Central, North, East, Park, Fletton, Bretton North, Stanground Central, Walton and Orton Longueville wards.
These areas were chosen as they met specific government criteria - for example, significant and persistent anti-social behaviour or poor property conditions - but there have been calls to extend to the scheme to other parts of the city.
Selective licensing runs out in Peterborough at the end of October and the council is currently drawing up a new application to be submitted to the Government for approval, taking into account the latest guidelines.
The revised scheme will go out to consultation later this year.
To obtain a licence in a Selective Licensing area - which costs £600 - landlords have to meet certain standards and comply with conditions which include ensuring the property has a gas safety certificate, working smoke alarms and safe electrical appliances and furniture.
Moreover, landlords are required to meet a host of other criteria which includes monitoring overcrowding, resolving anti-social behaviour, legally removing tenants where there is evidence of criminal activity or anti-social behaviour and ensuring properties are in good condition and free of waste at the start of each tenancy.
Upon launching the scheme, the council identified 6,205 properties in need of a licence, however, this number has grown to more than 7,600 as further properties have been identified.
To date, 6,500 licences have been issued, with 660 refused and 202 revoked.
The council said the number of formal actions has “greatly reduced from the pre-scheme period,” with a bigger fall in the number of category one hazards.
In addition, it said the number of empty dwellings in the area covered by Selective Licensing has reduced from 235 to 210.
However, the percentage of anti-social behaviour incidents in the Selective Licensing area made up 40.4 per cent of all incidents in Peterborough in 2020, compared to 38.6 per cent in 2015.
The council has previously said that applications for gas safety certificates in the month before Selective Licensing began showed 18 per cent of properties were previously without one.