Landlords held to account over licence applications
The new Selective Licensing scheme for the area, designed to make sure that landlords can only rent out safe properties that are managed well, came into effect on November 1st making it compulsory for every landlord to have a licence for every private rented property they control.
The Selective Licensing scheme was implemented after extensive consultation with landlords, tenants, residents and business in the area. Council officers had been inspecting properties for more than three years, and had found serious disrepair and unsafe living conditions.
390 applications have been received so far. Those who did not submit a valid application by the 1 November are being served financial penalties for failure to licence. All landlords and agents are given a Fit and Proper check to make sure that they have satisfactory management arrangements in place.
We expect landlords to treat their tenants properly and also to deal with tenants in their properties who are not behaving well and causing anti-social behaviour. The Fit and Proper check also involves making sure that landlords do not have any criminal convictions which may affect their management of the property. This may result in landlords and agents being refused a licence meaning that they cannot rent out properties in the area.
As well as doing these checks, the council is also knocking on every door that hasn’t applied for a licence and cross checking council tax and benefit information to make sure that the information provided in all applications is accurate.
Councillor Jim Steinke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety said: “It’s our responsibility to make sure that all private sector tenants live in homes that are well-cared for and safe and that’s why this selective licensing scheme is so important.
“We have done a lot of work communicating with landlords over the last few months about the need for them to have a licence. We are disappointed, but not surprised, that some landlords have failed to apply. Unless a landlord has a genuine reason for not applying they will be given financial penalties. We would urge any landlord or tenant worried about this to contact the Private Housing Standards team for advice on 0114 2734680.”
More about the Selective Licensing scheme, including a full address list of the properties included and how to apply for a licence, is at www.sheffield.gov.uk/laclicense