A selective licensing scheme planned for areas of Wisbech has been shelved.
Under the scheme landlords would have been required to buy five year licences for £575 – more for those with HMOs – and be able to show they were ‘fit and proper’ persons to rent out property.
The plan, which would have seen 2,400 rented homes in seven Wisbech wards brought under new controls, was proposed in a bid to improve standards and reduce crime and anti social behaviour.
However, opponents said that the scheme would see “tenants nudged into nearby towns and villages, moving problems elsewhere” and would only serve to force “black market landlords deeper underground.”
In addition, landlords complained the plans were unnecessary, the costs were too high and the council should focus solely on ‘rogues’, with 85% of landlords questioned by the council opposing the licensing plan.
The RLA had also objected to the scheme in an official response to the council’s consultation.
The Conservative group – which has a large majority on Fenland Council – was unable to agree on the plans and, following several postponements, they have now been ditched altogether.
The council has announced it will instead create a “task force” set up to explore alternative ways of tackling problems with private rented accommodation in Wisbech and improve enforcement.