Scarborough Council asked to back scheme to improve private rented accommodation in south of town

A licensing scheme to improve the quality of private rented accommodation in parts of Scarborough’s Weaponness and Ramshill ward is being recommended for approval.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 4th May 2020, 11:48 am
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 12:14 pm
The proposed area for extension.
The proposed area for extension.

Scarborough Borough Council’s Cabinet will be asked to back the introduction of the ‘Scarborough South’ scheme, when it meets on Thursday May 12.

The council brought in the compulsory selective licensing scheme which requires landlords of properties to apply to the authority for a licence for areas in the north of the town in 2017.

The central part of Scarborough was then added to the scheme last year.The licence, which costs £550 for the first one, 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 and safe electrical appliances.

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Councillor Carl Maw. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

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 are also be required to prove that they are “fit and proper” persons.

Close to 1,000 licences have already been issued in the north of Scarborough and hundreds of homes and properties have been inspected with thousands of hazards and issues found.

The council now wants to extend the scheme to the south of the town and held a public consultation into the plans.

A total of 72% of almost 350 people who took part in the consultation between January and March, either agreed or strongly agreed with the proposal to introduce the scheme.

The consultation included residents in the streets immediately surrounding the scheme’s designated area.

In contrast, just 35% of landlords who responded to the consultation agreed with the proposals.

If introduced, the Scarborough South scheme would be delivered in partnership with the Community Impact Team, which includes the council’s Community Safety Team, North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

It is estimated that there are 550 licensable properties within the proposed area of designation and it could generate a total fee income of £334,000 for the council.

Cllr Carl Maw, Scarborough Council’s cabinet member for Stronger Communities and Housing, said: “We welcome this recommendation coming before Cabinet. The proposed scheme seeks to improve the quality of life for tenants in the designated area and neighbouring residents too.

“We have seen in other parts of Scarborough where selective licensing has made a significant positive difference to the lives of the local community. This will be one of the key factors we will be considering when we discuss the report on May 12.”

In these circumstances, legislation sets out that approval from the Secretary of State is required.

A minimum period of three months must follow any Secretary of State approval before a scheme can take effect.

The council is anticipating that the earliest the Scarborough South scheme could be introduced is February 2021 but this could be subject to change due to the ongoing government focus on coronavirus.

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