Landlords in Peterborough have been given a final warning to sign up to licensing.
Peterborough City Council’s selective licensing policy began in December, but the number of applications is 500 fewer than expected.
Despite admitting that landlords are not likely to be prosecuted until the spring, a spokesman said that landlords would be expected to improve substandard properties before that.
A recent council report stated: ‘Robust enforcement action will be taken with a low tolerance approach being adopted which will result in landlords who fail to licence being swiftly brought before the magistrates.’
More than 900 gas safety certificates were issued in the month before the selective licensing deadline, suggesting that many properties were without one despite it being a legal requirement.
The new selective licensing covers nine wards – Central, North, East, Park, Fletton, Bretton North, Stanground Central, Walton and Orton Longueville – representing around 37 per cent of the city’s private rented stock.
Landlords who applied for licences before the deadline needed pay only £50 if accredited with a nationally recognised organisation and £600 for unaccredited landlords. But landlords who are now applying for a licence after the deadline will be charged £900.
The scheme was approved despite opposition from landlords who felt they were being unfairly penalised. They claim rogue landlords will not bother to apply for a licence, therefore rendering the new selective licensing non-effective.