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Stockton could soon see a clampdown on rogue landlord behaviour in some of the area’s most deprived locations.
A £945 charge could soon be levied on all buy to let properties in Stockton that are not up to scratch. The move comes as part of a bid to help vulnerable tenants. Cabinet members in Stockton Council will decide whether to introduce selective licensing in the borough’s poorest neighbourhoods. Central Stockton and ‘North Thornaby’ have been selected to be encompassed in the scheme. The programme would see landlords pay for a licence as part of a bid to tackle low housing demand and irresponsible landlords. £945 would be charged per license per property, applicable for five years.
Failure to apply for or obtain a licence when letting out a property could result in an unlimited fine if convicted. Otherwise, penalties could be issued of up to £30,000.
An ‘agreement in principle’ to pursue the licensing scheme was secured by the council last year. This is due to the fact that the two neighbourhoods suffer from ‘significant and persistent anti-social behaviour and high levels of crime’ according to the report.
Licences would be needed for older, mainly terraced housing which is rented out in Victoria, Thornaby and the centre of Stockton.
Should councillors agree, a 10-week consultation will be launched by Stockton Council to judge reactions to the proposed scheme.
Councillor Paul Rowling, member for Mandale and Victoria was optimistic that the idea would help tackle anti-social behaviour, crime and the ‘high turnover of properties’ in his ward. He also added: ‘By no means is it a solution to it but we think it could be part of the jigsaw. It’s also about trying to improve some of the living conditions – a few times I’ve gone to visit people and their houses have had issues with damp and they’ve not had any luck with their landlords.’