Labour councillors in Oldham are to consult with residents about plans to introduce a new licencing scheme to help tackle the problem of bad landlords in key sites across the borough.
Following statistical analysis identifying areas where there are particular risks of housing being of poor quality or landlords not delivering on their responsibilities, the licencing scheme will ensure that all tenants are properly protected.
Local authorities are currently limited in the actions they can take against bad landlords, with licencing schemes seen as the most effective solution of those available. The scheme would involve landlords paying a licence fee which would cover the cost of providing the licence and enforcement.
Councillor Valerie Leach, Deputy Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The vast majority of our private landlords look after their tenants, rent out decent properties and operate within the law.
“But, sadly, there are some who fail to provide housing to a decent standard and don’t conduct the necessary checks for tenants. That’s why we originally introduced the selective licensing scheme.
“Four out of five of the 3,672 residents who gave their views last time said they believed selective licensing would help improve the areas covered and they have been proven correct as we’ve been able to help out tenants and drive up standards.
“Any scheme would mean landlords and tenants have to act responsibly or face possible action from the council.
“This consultation will allow us to see if all parties think that a selective licensing scheme would again be appropriate in the highlighted neighbourhoods. Please give us your views as we want to hear from you.”
Oldham Labour’s actions come as the Conservative government announces its intention to spend £4 million on tackling bad landlords. With over 4.5 million households in the private rented sector in the UK, this means they are investing less than £1 per house.