Thursday, July 26, 2018

News: Two new Rotherham areas earmarked for selective licensing

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Rotherham Council is set to extend its selective licensing scheme to Parkgate and Thurcroft to tackle the low housing demand and significant and persistent levels of antisocial behaviour related to the private rented sector.

The authority has already designated four areas as selective licensing areas where a licence fee for each property must be paid for by the landlord or agent and where each licence contains a set of conditions that the landlord must meet.

Utilising powers under the Housing Act 2004, the designations came into force on May 1 2015 and will last for five years. The areas are: Eastwood, Masbrough, Dinnington and Maltby South East as these have been deemed, or are likely to become, areas of low housing demand.

Rothbiz reported last month that officers were progressing plans for the future designation of selective licensing areas in Parkgate, but now plans to also target Thurcroft have been outlined.

Cabinet support for extending the scheme will be sought in the coming months. Further designations would require further public consultation which is scheduled for September.

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A report to the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Management Board states that designating parts of Thurcroft and Parkgate as Selective Licensing areas, "will help combat problems associated with housing and housing conditions within areas of deprivation, and deliver improved health and social wellbeing outcomes for those communities."

Licensing, together with inspections and compliance monitoring, is aimed at improving private rented housing management by landlords to ensure that those who rely on the private rented sector have safe and healthy homes.

Over 2,000 Rotherham properties are registered on the current scheme, around 90% of all licensable property, and the Council reports that it has seen "significant successes in improving housing conditions to make properties safer for our most deprived communities."

Concerns over the costs of licences were raised during the initial consultation, predominantly from landlords, that the licensing fee per property (around £600) is too much. Also that, expecting payment upfront, would severely affect landlord's businesses.

A legal challenge brought by local landlords was defeated in 2015 and Rotherham Council believes that the income from applications (around £1.5m) is expected to cover the costs of administration of the scheme.

The proposed licensing area in Parkgate covers Broad Street / Rawmarsh Hill from Parkgate roundabout to the church. Also included are Goosebutt Street, parts of Netherfield Lane, Albert Road and Spalton Road.

The proposed licensing area in Thurcroft covers parts of Woodhouse Green, parts of Green Arbour Road and parts of Katherine Road. Charles Street and Peter Street are also included.

RMBC website

Images: Google Maps

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