Council set to back licensing to tackle shady landlords

North Marine Road, one of the areas covered by the proposals
North Marine Road, one of the areas covered by the proposals
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Tough new licensing measures, aimed at tackling shady private landlords in some of Scarborough’s most deprived areas, are set to be introduced by the council.

A report set to go before Scarborough Council next Monday recommends that the authority back plans to bring in additional licensing for small homes of multiple occupancy (HMOs) in the Castle, North Bay and Ramshill wards.

It’s hoped that the licensing will stop landlords with a “poor track record” from operating, as well as improving living and safety conditions for those living in HMO’s, which are typically some of the lowest quality homes in the borough.

Scarborough Council also hope that the additional licensing will boost house prices in these areas, as well as encourage investment.

The authority estimates that there are 1,500 HMOs in the borough, and the council expects this number to increase significantly.

Borough-wide mandatory licensing is already in place, although not all HMOs are covered by it.

The additional licensing in these wards, which incorporate some of the most deprived parts of the country, will cover properties that are two or more stories in height serving as the main home to at least three unrelated people sharing communal facilities.

The hope is that the proposed new licensing will reduce the “significant proportion” of homes in these areas that are being managed “ineffectively”, which creates a wide range of problems for the tenants.

Fire safety is often ignored, and essential maintenance not carried out at the properties. In 2010/2011 alone, over 500 enforcement related interventions were carried out by the council following complaints from either the residents or the fire service.

The report reads: “We recognise that on its own additional licensing is not a solution to address these problems.

“However as part of a range of measures it will be an effective tool.”

The number of HMOs has exploded in recent years, as Scarborough’s once booming tourist-trade has faltered.

Guest house owners have frequently turned the buildings into HMOs, and the number of privately rented homes in Scarborough has risen by 50 per cent in the last decade alone.

A decision on the proposals will be made at the meeting on Monday May 13 at Scarborough Town Hall.