Bristol City Council is consulting on proposals to introduce additional licensing requirements to 12 wards in central Bristol to try and improve housing standards in the city.
The Housing Act 2004 allows local authorities to require landlords of some privately rented accommodation to license their properties. Licensing can be applied to specific areas of the city where evidence suggests there is poor quality private rented housing.
The proposed additional licensing scheme will apply to houses in multiple occupation (HMO) - houses or flats that are let to three or more people who aren’t related and who share or lack some facilities, like kitchens or bathrooms. These are HMO’s which are not covered by mandatory licensing.
The 12 wards that would be affected are: Clifton Down, Central, Cotham, Clifton, Hotwells and Harbourside, Southville, Windmill Hill, Ashley, Bishopston and Ashley Down, Easton, Lawrence Hill, and Redland.
If the licensing goes ahead, landlords will be charged a fee for licensing their properties. A licence will normally last for five years and conditions would be attached to the licence to improve management practices and standards.
Following the success of the licensing schemes in Stapleton Rd, Easton and in St George West and Eastville the council is looking to further improve both the accommodation conditions and management practices in multiple occupied properties.
A 12 week public consultation which will run from February 19, will be undertaken with local residents, tenants and landlords in these areas.
The Housing Act 2004 allows local authorities to require landlords of some privately rented accommodation to licence their properties. Licensing can be applied to specific areas of the city where evidence suggests there is poor quality private rented housing.
Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities, said: “Ensuring that everyone in the city has access to decent housing remains one of our top priorities.
“We know from experience that licensing is a good way to deal with issues of poor standards of accommodation and inefficient property management.
“While we know that most landlords are providing quality rented accommodation, we are also aware that a significant number of HMOs not covered by mandatory licensing are being poorly managed and maintained in these areas we have identified.
“Living in a property that is in poor condition, or being badly managed, can have a serious negative impact on the health and wellbeing of tenants.
“As the private rented sector continues to grow, it is vital that we continue to take steps to help protect vulnerable tenants and bring stability to many households.
“It is important that we seek the views of local residents and businesses before we implement any further licensing, and I would like to encourage people living in these twelve wards to take part in this consultation and have their say.”
Licensing places conditions on the landlord/agent to ensure that minimum property standards are met and that good management practice is delivered. Advice and guidance on the necessary improvements required to ensure the property complies with licensing conditions is also offered. Where landlords do not meet the required condition standards, enforcement action may follow.
People can find out more and have their say by filling in a survey available online at www.bristol.gov.uk/licensingscheme. Alternative formats or paper copies of the information can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0117 922 2066 and leaving contact details. Paper copies will also be available from local libraries and the Customer Service Point at 100 Temple Street.
The consultation closes on May 13, 2018.