The RLA has opposed plans to introduce a selective licensing scheme in South Tyneside.
South Tyneside Council wants to implement the scheme for some private rented properties in the wards of Beacon and Bents, Simonside and Rekendyke ward and the Westoe ward.
The Council say the purpose of the scheme is to improve the management and standards of privately rented properties in the Borough.
However, the RLA has opposed the plans.
The RLA’s response to this consultation
In the RLA’s response to this consultation, the association has warned that a licensing condition that has been included on electrical safety is potentially unlawful.
The condition states that if the local authority has reasonable grounds for believing the electrical installation may need repair or upgrading it may demand a Periodic Electrical Report carried out by a suitably qualified electrical contractor who must be registered/member of an approved body such as NICEIC, NAPIT, etc. or registered to undertake electrical works in accordance with Part P of the Building Regulations.
This report must be no more than 5 years old and deem the electrical installation to be in at least a satisfactory condition.
However, an appeal heard at the Court of Appeal heard that any licence condition that seeks to regulate the condition or contents of the house is unlawful, and the local authority has no power to impose such a condition.
While the RLA does not oppose such reports or works, should the scheme get the go ahead, the RLA urges the Council to remove this particular condition.
Existing enforcement powers
The council also has a number of existing enforcement powers that it could use to root out criminal landlords, such as civil penalty orders and banning orders. The RLA argues that instead of introducing a new licensing scheme where only good landlords will come forward to licence their property, the council should make use of the existing enforcement powers it already has.
Have your say on the plans
This consultation closes on Wednesday 25th March 2020, and landlords can read more about the proposals and have their say by clicking here.
Several local authorities are currently consulting on licensing proposals. Check out the latest consultations and the RLA’s most recent response in our February Licensing Update for landlords.