New plans are being established to put together a selective licensing scheme in Weymouth.
The proposed selective licensing scheme would entail all privately rented properties needing a licence, and would require them to undergo regular check ups. The scheme is being introduced in a bid to improve poor quality housing, and to make landlords behave professionally and to be held accountable when they do not.
The plans were discussed by council officers at a Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Scrutiny and Performance committee meeting. The discussion follows a report by the Melcombe Regis Board, in which it was discovered that a large proportion of properties in the private rental sector in the area raised concerns. Many of them had issues with the condition they were in, and many were located in areas of high crime and deprivation.
The report also found evidence of significant and persistent anti-social behaviour in the area linked to many of the privately rented properties.
The borough council spokesman for housing, Councillor Gill Taylor, said: ‘It’s not going to be a quick fix but it is a direction we are looking at. Council officers have been asked to come up with a scheme. I think there was quite a lot of local opposition to it which is why I have met with local landlords. We need to engage with landlords, they are part of the solution and they shouldn’t be seen as the enemy. What we have to be careful about is that landlords could either sell up because of the regulations on them or pass the increases on to their tenants who could end up with higher rents. At the moment landlords have little incentive to improve the standards of housing because they don’t need to.’
However, the scheme is not yet a certainty. Councillor Taylor continued: ‘We need to gather more evidence but then we will run the selective licensing scheme through the Melcombe Regis Board then it will go to the borough council’s management committee and consultations will be held with landlords and tenants. If it is accepted then it will be sent to the Secretary of State for approval which could take some time.’