Oldham Council is going ahead with its new selective licensing scheme across seven of the town’s wards despite widespread opposition from landlords.
The first phase launches in June, while a proposed second phase, potentially covering another six wards, will be consulted on in the next few months and would then need Secretary of State approval. Landlords now face a £91 price hike as the licence fee is £581 per property, up from the previous £490.
The town’s original five-year scheme, which covered eight areas, ended in 2020 when its consultation studying 10 wards was scuppered by the pandemic. Last year’s survey revealed that 97% of landlords thought there was no benefit to having a landlord licensing area and many expressed concerns that it was unclear what the previous scheme had achieved or believed there was no clear evidence of how the previous fees had been spent. The National Residential Landlords Association also objected to the scheme
Two-thirds of residents reported that they had had a problem with privately rented properties, particularly with anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping, however, residents mainly said that they had felt no impact of licensing. Both landlords and residents agreed that the scheme should be rolled out borough-wide (even nationally) or not at all.
Councillor Hannah Roberts, cabinet member for housing, says the original scheme helped to drive up standards by imposing management conditions and educating landlords on their management responsibilities. She defended the council’s reasons for rolling out the scheme in stages, adding: “We felt it was extremely unlikely that the Secretary of State would approve a whole borough scheme, as he recently turned down Liverpool, while not all of the borough meets the requirements to be able to set up a scheme.”
Phase one covers: Alexandra, St Mary’s, Waterhead, Werneth, Chadderton South, Hollinwood & Medlock Vale.
Oldham gives green light to phase one of pricier new licensing scheme is written by Helen Gregory for www.landlordzone.co.uk