Controversial plans for new £620 landlord licences scrapped by Telford council

Controversial plans to introduce a £620 fee for some private landlords in Telford have been scrapped.

Councillor Lee Carter
Councillor Lee Carter

The Selective Licensing scheme has been dropped by Telford & Wrekin Council after more than 900 people replied to a consultation – the biggest response in the council's history.

They have replaced the plans with a new set of five proposals called "Better Homes for All". The council hopes these will crack down on rogue landlords and fly-tippers while also improving the private rent sector.

But if Better Homes for All is not a success, Selective Licensing could make a return.

Under the original plans, private landlords in certain areas of Telford would have had to buy five-year licences before renting out their properties.

The council hoped the scheme would improve the standard of privately-rented homes, bringing with it a cut in the amount of fly-tipping, crime and anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Lee Carter, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for finance, said that the passionate response wasn't a surprise.

"It is a very important subject," he said. "Throughout this process I began to understand that there are people who are really passionate about this sector.

"It's a business for them, but there's a social angle as well. Residents are keen to see the standards of their homes improved, but the standards of their neighbourhoods improved as well."

Although the response was massively against selective licensing, Councillor Carter said that positives had come out of it.

"It was quite positive in recognising that there is a problem," he said. "Whether it was landlords, police, parish councils or local residents, they acknowledged that something needed to be done.

"I guess Selective Licensing was something that was put forward as a silver bullet to address all these problems – it wasn't that. It was selective by it's nature. What we've got now is a more robust set of proposals that we can monitor and can retune and visit as we go along."

The new plans include a new rogue landlord taskforce, an enhanced set of licensing conditions for houses of multiple occupancy, a new housing enforcement policy, a bigger environmental cleaning team and more enforcement officers.

The council hopes the dedicated teams will help improve standards across the town.

And while Selective Licensing only covered parts of the borough, the new proposals will allow improvements across the whole of Telford & Wrekin.

But if there continue to be issues, Selective Licensing could return.

"We want this to improve standards in the private rented sector," Councillor Carter said.

"We have to invest in this, working with others and partnership to make it work. If it doesn't, we might have to revisit selective licensing.

"We're satisfied and confident there's as many people as possible on board and that we're going to make it work."

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