23 Sep 2022

The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have given the go-ahead for the UK’s biggest Selective Licensing Scheme that will cover up to 50,000 homes.

The permission has been given to Birmingham City Council to cover all private rented properties in 25 of the city’s wards.

Permission was given under the Housing Act 2004 and the scheme will be delivered through a team of 130 staff.

The council says that its scheme will target wards where the private rented sector accounts for more than 20% of properties and where there are high levels of deprivation and/or crime.

Largest in the UK

The scheme will be, the council says, the largest in the UK covering between 40,000 – 50,000 properties.

The selective licensing scheme will last five years and come into force on 5 June 2023.

Councillor Sharon Thompson, the council’s cabinet member for housing and homelessness, said: “The new scheme will help us drive up standards across the private rented sector.

“It was approved after extensive consultation and 130 new jobs will be created to deliver the scheme.”

‘Providing fit and proper accommodation’

She added: “We want to ensure that private properties in our poorest wards are providing fit and proper accommodation and that landlords are adhering to their legal responsibilities.

“While many already do, the introduction of licence conditions that cover a range of issues including waste bins, references and tackling anti-social behaviour will ensure the council is in a position to engage and regulate this sector appropriately.

“The Selective Licensing Scheme will allow BCC to work with all landlords to drive up standards across all private rented sector properties and join up with other services such as the police to tackle issues such as the high levels of crime that have blighted these wards for too long.

“Improving standards in the longer term will lead to safer and more stable communities, enabling more tenants to fulfil their potential, especially children.”

Undertaken extensive consultation for the scheme

Birmingham City Council says it has undertaken extensive consultation for the scheme which included meeting with elected members, focus groups and a flyer drop at all 125,000 properties in the 25 wards.

More than 800 responses were received from landlords, residents and tenants, plus businesses and organisations.

The consultation showed there was ‘significant support’ for the scheme from residents and businesses and organisations.

Landlords did not agree with the plan

However, it was revealed that 77% of managing agents and landlords did not agree with the plan.

The cost of a licence to landlords will be £700 for up to five years.

The scheme had been approved by the council in March but because of its size, permission from the government was needed.

The Birmingham wards where Selective Licensing will now be imposed are Acocks Green, Alum Rock, Aston, Balsall Heath, Birchfield, Bordesley Green, Bordesley and Highgate, Bournbrook and Selly Park, Edgbaston, Gravelly Hill, Handsworth, Heartlands, Holyhead, Ladywood, Lozells, North Edgbaston, Small Heath, Soho and Jewellery Quarter, South Yardley, Sparkbrook and Balsall Heath, Sparkhill, Stockland Green, Tyseley and Hay Mills, Ward End, Yardley West and Stechford.

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