Southend Council is attempting to crack down on rogue landlords by introducing a compulsory licence scheme to the area to replace their ‘Seal’ programme.
The scheme that the council are attempting to introduce would see all landlords in the area sign an agreement with the council to maintain a certain standard of living in the properties. They would also need to agree to regular inspections to ensure that said standards are maintained.
The South East Alliance of Landlords, also known as Seal, was previously set up to liaise with the council in order to improve the standard of accommodation in the private rental sector. However, Seal was only able to manage landlords and properties who agreed to sign up to their scheme.
The suggestion of a compulsory licensing scheme came from Councillor Ron Woodley. He said: ‘I do feel, and have done for a while, that we need to be a regulator for private landlords. We all know Seal does a good job, and is effective, but of course good landlords will sign up, but bad will not. We have all heard the horror stories of bad landlords, and the conditions that people are being left to live in. It is the people who live there are most important, and are the ones we should be protecting. By doing this, we are protecting every resident in the renting sector, and that can only be good news.’
Judith Codarin, a representative of Seal, said: ‘Seal is working very closely with the council to get the most positive results possible. We did know about the plans, and are very pleased to be working with the council, as we have done throughout the existence of Seal. The council has been appreciative of the moves forward that Seal has made, and the expertise that we can add to the process. We have already done presentations to the working parties, and I think it is actually very exciting to review the scheme, because it has been about five years since we launched.’