Another council to inroduce expensive licensing to tackle ‘rogue landlords’

Sandwell Council is moving forward with plans to expand its licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) across the borough, aiming to improve standards and tackle issues like anti-social behavior and housing conditions. Currently, HMOs with five or more people require a license, but under the new rules, properties with three or more occupants will also need a £1,000 license for a five-year period.

The council estimates that approximately 3,000 additional properties will fall under this licensing requirement. The initiative is part of a broader strategy to enhance housing management, safety, and maintenance standards across Sandwell. It also seeks to address issues such as modern-day slavery and human trafficking associated with poorly managed properties.

The council’s report highlights the significant impact of substandard property management on residents’ lives and council resources, including issues like anti-social behavior, fly-tipping, property condition concerns, harassment, and illegal evictions. The expansion of licensing is seen as necessary due to the increasing volume of private rented accommodation in certain areas and persistent challenges with inadequate property management.

Previously implemented licensing measures in West Bromwich have laid the groundwork for this borough-wide extension, despite challenges such as low landlord participation. To manage the increased workload associated with processing more license applications, the council plans to double the number of staff dedicated to handling these applications from two to four.

The decision on these proposals will be made during a meeting of Sandwell Council’s cabinet on June 19 in Oldbury, where further details and discussions will take place regarding the potential impacts and implementation timelines of the expanded HMO licensing scheme

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