Licensing Scheme leads to improvements to private rented housing standards

Licensing Scheme leads to improvements to private rented housing standards

The licensing scheme that aimed to improve housing standards and management of privately rented properties in Eastville and St George has brought significant improvements to private rented housing standards. This follows the successful Stapleton Road licensing scheme which ended in 2018.

7 October 2021

During the five-year licensing scheme, which ended on 30 June 2021, 3,616 licences were issued and 3,409 inspections carried out.

As a result of the inspections:

  • 3,019 rented properties (88% of properties inspected) were improved as part of the licensing process. 
  • 752 informal and formal notices were issued to correct serious hazards  
  • 246 properties were found to be in breach of HMO management regulations and required to carry out remedial works.   
  • 675 properties made fire safety improvements

The scheme also raised awareness of tenants’ rights and gave renters the confidence to report problems, resulting in 2,800 enquiries and complaints being received over the last five years.

Councillor Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes, said: “The outcomes of this scheme are a clear demonstration of why the council is using licensing as a proactive measure to improve housing conditions and management practices in the private rented sector. 

“This scheme has had a huge impact on the quality of the rented homes in these two wards, with over 3,000 homes improved.

“The majority of landlords worked with us to improve their homes, but where this failed, we were not afraid to take enforcement action to ensure licensing standards were met.

“The success of this scheme, and this administration’s proposals to further expand property licensing where problems are identified in the rented sector, shows the action we are willing to take to improve conditions for people renting in the city.”

In addition to improvements to rented properties, 383 referrals were made to other departments, agencies and service providers. These included the Police, Planning and Building Control, the Neighbourhood Enforcement Team, Council Tax and Housing Benefits.

The council worked with landlords to improve conditions and the management of homes wherever possible. However, where landlords refused to work with the council, enforcement action was taken. This resulted in four prosecutions, ten civil penalty notices being issued and one simple caution given. These totalled more than £62,000 in fines.

Licensing conditions last for a period of five years from the date issued. Inspection and enforcement work will continue in these two wards while the license conditions remain in force.

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