Rental li­cens­ing will im­prove lives

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Townhall View -

The past week has seen us reach an im­por­tant mile­stone in our jour­ney to im­prove the city’s pri­vate rental ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Un­der the new selective li­cens­ing scheme, land­lords in cer­tain ar­eas of the city will need to have a li­cence to let out their prop­er­ties. As of Septem­ber 1, land­lords can now ap­ply on­line for the li­cence which needs to be in place by December 1.

Not only will li­cens­ing help us tackle rogue land­lords in Peter­bor­ough, but it also sup­ports prop­erty own­ers that are hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ties with un­scrupu­lous ten­ants.

More than a third of the city’s pri­vately rented hous­ing will be in­cluded in the scheme – that’s around 6,000 prop­er­ties. Land­lords who are mem­bers of an ap­proved na­tional body need only pay £50 for a five-year li­cence, while other non-ac­cred­ited land­lords pay £600 – which works out at £10 per month over the course of the scheme.

More in­for­ma­tion can be found on the coun­cil’s web­site in­clud­ing the ar­eas where selective li­cens­ing will ap­ply. Th­ese ar­eas were cho­sen be­cause they have higher than av­er­age lev­els of de­pri­va­tion and crime, or be­cause pri­vate rental prop­erty con­di­tions there are of­ten poor, which cre­ates low de­mand for hous­ing.

To ob­tain a li­cence land­lords must have cer­tain safety mea­sures, in­clud­ing gas safety cer­tifi­cates, work­ing smoke alarms and safe ap­pli­ances and fur­ni­ture. They also need te­nancy agree­ments in place and ref­er­ences from new ten­ants.

I’m re­ally pleased that this scheme is now un­der­way. It gives our en­force­ment team more pow­ers to ad­dress prob­lems that res­i­dents re­port in th­ese ar­eas – in­clud­ing over­crowd­ing and un­healthy liv­ing con­di­tions.

Those that don’t have a li­cence in place by 1 December will need to pay a higher rate to get one. Any land­lord found to be in breach of li­cence con­di­tions faces pros- ecu­tion and, if con­victed, an un­lim­ited fine. The coun­cil could also re­voke their li­cence and take over man­age­ment of the prop­erty.

The vast ma­jor­ity of land­lords of­fer de­cent, well­main­tained ac­com­mo­da­tion and most ten­ants are re­spect­ful and re­spon­si­ble. But un­for­tu­nately there are a small num­ber of ex­cep­tions that have a neg­a­tive im­pact on ten­ants, their neigh­bours and, some­times, whole com­mu­ni­ties.

Selective li­cens­ing will help to im­prove the qual­ity of life for ev­ery­one in th­ese ar­eas.

Al­most 3,000 peo­ple vis­ited the fan­tas­tic pop-up Lit­er­acy Hub which was in Bridge Street dur­ing the school sum­mer hol­i­day pe­riod. Staff from City Col­lege Peter­bor­ough and the Na­tional Lit­er­acy Trust manned the hub and must be ap­plauded for their hard work in pro­vid­ing such an in­ter­est­ing and in­for­ma­tive place for fam­i­lies to visit.

Con­tin­u­ing with a cul­tural theme, I want to say well done to the Peter­bor­ough Youth Or­ches­tra who per­formed a won­der­ful pro­gramme of clas­si­cal favourites at St John the Bap­tist Church in Cathe­dral Square last week. The con­cert spoke vol­umes for the mu­si­cal tal­ent we have here in Peter­bor­ough. Young peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in mu­sic should visit the Peter­bor­ough Mu­sic Hub web­site www.pe­ter­bor­ough­mu­sic.org.uk – this group is mak­ing sure mu­sic is ac­ces­si­ble for young peo­ple so they can thrive and de­velop.

One of the events that makes Peter­bor­ough such a vi­brant place to live is the an­nual Ital­ian Fes­ti­val. It’s great fun with fan­tas­tic food, chil­dren’s en­ter­tain­ment and a dis­play of clas­sic Ital­ian cars and mo­tor­bikes. I def­i­nitely rec­om­mend a visit this week­end.

Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil leader gives his view on the coun­cil and news and is­sues af­fect­ing you...

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