A proposed new licensing scheme aims to improve conditions in privately rented housing across a part of Weston-super-Mare
If the scheme is approved by North Somerset Council, landlords will need to obtain a licence setting out conditions regarding the management and condition of their properties. There would be an initial one-off fee of £320 for the licence. It would require landlords to ensure their properties comply with the minimum standards and would include fire precautions, state of repair, adequate heating, amenities and damp and mould prevention.
Improving the quality of housing in the town centre is a key part of the council’s ambitious plans for the regeneration of Weston. Good quality accommodation which attracts more people to live in the town will boost the demand for shops and services and help develop a vibrant and thriving town centre.
The scheme would last for five years with the council regularly reviewing progress to make sure its aims were being achieved. The area covered by the proposed scheme extends along the seafront and through the town centre from Birnbeck Road to Clifton Road.
The council will begin a formal consultation on the scheme on Wednesday 6 January with residents living and working in the area and landlords and managing agents who own or manage affected properties.
Central Ward Councillor Richard Nightingale says, ‘If this proposed scheme is adopted it will have a major effect on the standard of rental housing in the centre of Weston. The amount of low quality accommodation is something that I have personally been very concerned about. Though some landlords are conscientious, I have seen some properties which clearly need maintenance and others where tenants feel their living standards are compromised by the conditions. Clearly this must stop. Everyone is entitled to maintained and fit accommodation. I have strenuously campaigned and support any scheme that improves living standards. There is a very minimal fee of effectively £64 a year, which should assist covering the basic running cost. By adopting this proposal the Council can help tenants and support good landlords. The scheme will also give free important help and advice to landlords and tenants.”
Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, the Council’s executive member for housing, said this part of Weston, in general, had a concentration of poor housing conditions which can impact on the health of tenants.
“Some landlords do not maintain or improve their properties even when issues are reported by tenants,” he said. “This can lead to little or no pride in the neighbourhood which affects the community. We have responded to local concerns and want to tackle this issue by using the new powers available to ensure landlords comply with a duty to look after their properties and cater for the basic accommodation needs of their tenants.
Good landlords have nothing to fear from the scheme and have long complained about rogue landlords who provide the poorest accommodation for tenants who are paying to live in often damp, cold and poorly maintained accommodation.”
Consultation on the proposed new licensing scheme will end on Friday 18 March.