Landlord consultation in Hexthorpe could result in £20k fines

Doncaster's  Civic Offices.
Doncaster's Civic Offices.

Landlords in Doncaster have been warned they could face fines of up to £20,000 if they do not have an appropriate licence.

The fines could be introduced as part of a Selective Licensing Scheme for private sector landlords in Hexthorpe.

Doncaster Council is currently consulting on the proposals.

Proposed conditions of the scheme would require landlords in the area to take appropriate action to address community issues over tenancy management and particularly anti-social behaviour.

All residents, landlords, managing agents and businesses in Hexthorpe are being contacted to explain the proposals and how to register their views.

The consultation period started on Monday 30th June, and will last for 12 weeks. If a scheme is approved following this it would be introduced from December.

All private sector landlords would then have to apply for a licence to operate as a landlord.

The licence fee will be £500 for each rented property and last for 5 years.

In accordance with the law fees will only be used to administer the scheme. After this time any landlord renting property without a licence would be prosecuted with fines of up to £20,000.

All money from these fines stays within the Courts Service and does not go to the Council.

Licensing schemes offer many benefits for tenants renting private sector properties. These include requiring landlords to provide a tenancy agreement, ensure properties have fitted and working smoke alarms, and provide certificates confirming gas and electrical safety.

Other proposed licence conditions address property repairs, the number of occupiers, security of the property, external appearance of the property, refuse and waste, and effective management of anti-social behaviour. Where conditions are not met offending landlords will be prosecuted with fines of up to £5,000 per condition breach, which again the Council does not receive.

For landlords, the scheme will offer a range of advice and support, and give them access to landlord training and development programmes. This will help to reduce turnover of tenants, and lead to less empty properties and greater rental income whilst improving the reputation of the sector and area.

Councillor Christine Mills, Cabinet member for Housing, Environment and Waste, said: “This Selective Licensing Scheme proposal is a powerful and effective way for the Council to address concerns that communities in Hexthorpe have, including anti-social behaviour and tenancy management issues.

“We are keen to hear the views of all people affected by this proposal as we want to get this right for the sake of the community. I urge all people who we will be consulting with to make a contribution.

“We will closely monitor this scheme to see if there will be benefits in introducing something similar to other parts of the Borough. Raising standards in tenancy management by tackling these issues is in the best interests of everyone, including landlords.”