Launch of selective licensing scheme for private landlords in Scarborough

Trafalgar Square, Scarborough.
Trafalgar Square, Scarborough.

Scarborough Borough Council's new selective licensing scheme will come into effect for all privately rented properties in parts of the Castle and North Bay wards.

To comply with the scheme, landlords of rented properties in the designated areas need to apply for a licence from Scarborough Borough Council with the scheme coming into effect from Saturday July 1.

The licence requires landlords to meet a range of licensing conditions, including a current gas safety certificate if there is gas in the property, working smoke alarms, other fire safety measures and safe electrical appliances.

They must have suitable tenancy agreements and appropriate management arrangements in place, including those for dealing with anti-social behaviour and security. Proposed licence holders and managers will also be required to prove that they are ‘fit and proper’ persons.

Details of the streets covered by the scheme can be found online at scarborough.gov.uk/home/housing/selective-licensing and landlords can also access the online licence application facility from the same webpage.

The council has provided tenants of the privately rented properties in the designated areas with a leaflet telling them all about the scheme so that they know what their landlord’s responsibilities and obligations are.

Tenants do not need to do anything, but are being made aware that council officers and in some cases representative from other agencies such as North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, will need to inspect the property they are living in as part of the landlord’s application process.

The licence will be valid for five years. If a landlord fails to apply for a licence this may result in prosecution and they could be fined up to £20,000.

Where landlords fail to comply with the licensing conditions and/or fail to complete any works required as a result of the inspection, the council will initiate enforcement action, usually in the form of a formal notice. Failure to comply with the notice could result in the council prosecuting the licence holder.

Any prosecution that arises from not being part of the scheme or not complying with conditions of the licence could also lead to the licence holder no longer being classed as a ‘fit and proper’ person.

Cllr Bill Chatt, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Housing said: “Many landlords are very good at ensuring their properties comply with all the necessary regulations and they take pride in providing safe and comfortable homes. However, far too often, tenants are being badly let down and their lives negatively affected by irresponsible and neglectful landlords.

"The aim of the scheme is to stamp out that sort of behaviour, drive up management standards, improve property conditions for tenants, help reduce anti-social behaviour and enhance the image and perception of the two areas.”