Councillors consider proposals to licence private landlords

A STALYBRIDGE councillor welcomed a proposal which could see private landlords in the borough having to be licensed.

But Cllr Jan Jackson, speaking at the East Strategic Neighbourhood Forum at Stalybridge Civic Hall, exposed what she claimed to be an important omission.Cllr Jackson, who represents Stalybridge North, said: “This initiative does not include houses of multiple occupation (HMO) which is a loophole.

“There is one street in Stalybridge where three HMOs have been allowed to set up which has an impact on things like waste services and child protection issues.

“HMOs is an area which needs to be looked at.”

Cllr Jackson later confirmed West Street was where three HMOs are located, explaining there had been “lots of issues over recycling, waste management and parking”.

She added it was “unacceptable” to have such a high concentration of HMOs on one street because they impact neighbouring property.

Cllr Eleanor Wills, who represents Stalybridge/Dukinfield ward, described private landlords as “a massive area of neglect”.

“It is about safeguarding residents and there is nothing in place to make sure they are responsible landlords,” she said.

The meeting heard there were “pockets” in the borough where there are problems which need to be addressed. These relate mainly with anti-social behaviour and crime.

John Hughes, Tameside Council’s housing manager, opened his presentation by highlighting an earlier statement from Cllr Brenda Warrington, Tameside Council’s executive leader.

She wrote: “Foremost among our many priorities is pushing ahead with by commitment to improve the private rented sector in Tameside.

“This is an idea whose time has come. Housing, especially in the private rented sector, is at the heart of the economic, social and environmental infrastructure of the borough.”

Provisions for selective licensing were included in the 2004 Housing Act to tackle anti-social behaviour and low housing demand.

Powers were extended in 2015 to include poor property conditions, crime and high levels of deprivation and immigration.

By January 2019, 44 local authorities had schemes in operation including Manchester, Salford and Oldham.

Four schemes, including Liverpool, covered their entire boroughs.

The benefits of selective licensing enables resources to be focused on areas of concern and generating revenue to contribute to the costs.

It would provide a clearly defined offence of being licensed or unlicensed which simplifies enforcement.

The report also stated it is a drive for effective engagement between landlords and councils and promotes joint working with other agencies, including the police, HMRC and social services.

Tameside Council is currently collecting evidence and preparing a case to take to Cabinet to approve.

This would be followed by a consultation lasting a minimum of 10 weeks.

The results would ber analysed and a report taken to Cabinet. This process could take 12 weeks.

There would be a 12 week statutory period between declaration and the start of the scheme.

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