Wirral’s cabinet are set to discuss the extension of a scheme targeting rogue landlords in a bid to drive up the quality of rented accommodation in Birkenhead.
Selective Licensing, the scheme in question, requires landlords to agree to a range of conditions regarding the standards of their accommodation. It is set to be extended into some of the area’s more deprived communities.
Cabinet members will be asked during the meeting to send a recommendation to extend the scheme to a public consultation. The recommendation outlines suggestions that the scheme is extended to cover four more areas of East Wirral, where there is a higher than average number of privately rented properties available. The four new areas proposed include Hamilton Square, Seacombe St Pauls, Birkenhead West and Birkenhead Central.
These would join Egerton North, Birkenhead South, Seacombe Library and Egremont Promenade South as Selective Licensing areas.
Wirral’s cabinet member for housing and community safety, Councillor George Davies, said: ‘Wirral residents demand – and deserve – to live in good quality, safe and attractive housing. The availability of private rented accommodation has more than doubled in Wirral in the last 10 years and while we know that many of these properties are of an excellent standard, managed by responsible landlords, there are others that aren’t up to scratch. We will not tolerate Wirral residents being forced to live in poor conditions by irresponsible landlords.
‘This licensing scheme is a good way for us to tackle this issue and, where a landlord does not live up to their responsibilities to their tenants, we will not hesitate to take action against them. Our Selective Licensing scheme supports improvement in the quality of housing in the areas of Birkenhead and Wallasey where it is applied. It has brought many social and health benefits along with it and people from across the political spectrum have rightly highlighted its success and championed it for their own area, calling for its expansion.’
He continued: ‘This is where the council needs to step in and use all the powers that we have to drive up the standards of this housing on behalf of tenants and this is what we are aiming to do by extending the Selective Licensing scheme.’
Should Wirral’s cabinet approve the business case and consultation plan, the council will then begin a 10-week consultation process to gather the views of tenants, landlords and residents to inform a final decision.