Blackpool Council’s Executive agrees to introduce selective licensing to private housing in central area of town
Blackpool Council’s Executive has agreed to introduce selective licensing to private housing in the central area of the town.
The proposal, which now needs confirmation from the Secretary of State before being introduced, follows the introduction of additional licensing to the same area last summer, as well as the selective licensing schemes already in place in Claremont and South Beach.
The new central scheme would also include a method called co-regulation, which allows landlords to pay a manageable monthly fee rather than the whole licence fee up front, and for frequent inspections to take place in association with an independent body.
A recent survey completed by 1,141 Blackpool residents showed that 65% of respondents would like to see Blackpool Council introduce additional and selective licensing to town centre properties in order to address poor living conditions and anti-social behaviour in their community.
The selective licensing scheme would require all landlords within the designated area to adhere to strict guidelines around providing a good standard of living conditions and clamping down on problem tenants.
The selective licensing scheme would apply to properties in the designated area which lies between Waterloo Road at the south end, through the central Gateway area bordered by Seasiders Way and Central Drive, encompassing the town centre all the way to Talbot Road at the north end. The area will stretch inland as far as Devonshire Road and Whitegate Drive.
Councillor Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The housing market in Blackpool is broken and there are still too many landlords who are happy to rent out poor properties to problem tenants, causing misery to the local community.
“That’s unacceptable and for the last six years we have been extremely proactive on cracking down on those charlatan landlords who are just out to make a quick buck.
“Most people accept that the responsibility to install good tenants and have habitable accommodation is the responsibility of the landlord and selective licensing gives us the power to hold those landlords to account to make sure that they cut down on anti-social behaviour and improve the local area for neighbours.
“We have also listened to landlords to provide co-regulation on the central scheme, making the costs more manageable and ensuring that the regular inspections are carried out with a body independent of the council.
“One of the most basic human rights is that everybody deserves a clean and safe area to live and if landlords aren’t delivering that then we won’t hesitate to bring forward enforcement action.
“While this will serve as a stark warning to rogue landlords that they need to clean up their act, we hope that this will be a positive move for responsible landlords, as cleaning up the local area should improve the attractiveness of their property and help them to find better tenants.”
As part of introducing the scheme Blackpool Council consulted with over 7,000 local residents and landlords.
Over three quarters of landlords and agents agreed that badly managed properties contributed to the decline of an area and that as landlords they had a responsibility to have satisfactory management arrangements in place while half of landlords agreed it was their responsibility to tackle nuisance and anti-social behaviour from their tenants and visitors.
Residents concurred, with over 80% saying landlords should be responsible for dealing with problem tenants and that they should demand references from prospective tenants.
If approved, landlords running affected properties will have to pay a fee to help administer the scheme, and could be liable for fines if they breach the conditions of the licence.