Bristol City Council Unveils New Licensing Plans

Bristol City Council has taken a decisive step to tighten regulations on letting agents and landlords, unveiling new licensing schemes for rented properties within its jurisdiction.  This is following a recent report entitled ‘Bristol Living Rent Commission‘ where the council proposes that all small HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) be licensed across the city. Furthermore, the introduction of selective licensing will extend to several city wards, including Bishopston and Ashley Down, Cotham, and Easton.

The council’s motivation behind the introduction of these schemes stems from their successful predecessors. For instance, a discretionary scheme from 2013 to 2018 in the Stapleton Road area licensed over 1,200 properties. Out of these, almost 400 saw at least one serious hazard resolved. Furthermore, close to 850 properties were mandated to make improvements to fulfil licensing criteria, and a total of 10 landlords faced prosecution for 37 different offences.

Additionally, between 2016 and 2021, the Eastville and St George areas benefitted from selective and additional licensing schemes, with over 3,300 licences issued. These initiatives resulted in enhancements to over 3,000 properties, meeting the specified licensing criteria. Plus, 675 properties saw significant improvements in fire safety.

The council continues its commitment with an ongoing additional HMO licensing scheme, which is expected to run through to July 2024 in 12 central Bristol wards. The scheme also covers Horfield, Bedminster, and Brislington West, regions that were incorporated in April of the preceding year.

Councillor Tom Renhard, a prominent figure responsible for housing delivery and homes, has confirmed that both landlords and tenants will receive correspondence during the consultation phase for these schemes, set to conclude on 7th November.

Renhard assures that landlords will be privy to all necessary guidance and advice, facilitating them in making the necessary enhancements to their properties to satisfy licensing conditions.

Commenting on the issue, Renhard said: “Those in private rented accommodation have lived for too long without adequate protections and very limited options to guarantee decent living standards.

“While we know that the majority of landlords offer good quality homes and have positive relationships with their tenants, these additional measures would allow us to take action where this is not the case.”

iHowz encourage you to participate in the consultation. The consultation will run until Tuesday 7 November.

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