Local people are being encouraged to give their views on proposed schemes to regulate Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) and selected private sector properties in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole as part of an extensive 12-week consultation (13 Jan – 6 April 2020).
The Discretionary Licensing schemes include an Additional Licensing Scheme that would look at regulating specific non- mandatory Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) across the BCP Council area, and a Selective Licencing Scheme regulating all private sector properties within a specifically defined geographical area.
The consultation aims to engage with landlords, residents, businesses and other stakeholders. Further information about the schemes are available online and a number of drop-in consultation events are taking place across the area during the consultation period for the public to view the proposals and speak with representatives from the housing team.
If introduced, Discretionary Licensing would provide continuous regulation and an inspection regime to ensure housing standards are maintained, and properties are suitably managed to prevent issues such as anti-social behaviour, crime and deprivation.
Councillor Kieron Wilson, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:
“High density, highly populated areas where the private rental sector is significant often results in a transient population and lack of community cohesion. Whilst not the case for all, it can also attract a disproportionate number of people with challenging and chaotic lifestyles leading to further social issues.
“Discretionary Licensing schemes have been shown to be effective in addressing tenancy management issues and housing conditions. I would urge anyone who has an interest in these proposals to come along to a drop-in event or view the information available online and have their say.”
Following an evidence-based assessment the two Discretionary Licensing schemes to be considered within the consultation are: Additional Licensing of HMOs across BCP Council area, which would include all properties with three or four occupants who are from two or more households, sharing facilities.
Selective Licensing area analysis includes areas with a high proportions of private rented sector homes, significant problems caused by anti-social behaviour, high levels of deprivation existing or high levels of crime experienced. The areas identified contain 12,148 properties. These include parts of, Westbourne, Boscombe, West Hill, Bournemouth Town Centre, Poole Town Centre, Charminster, Winton, East Cliff, Springbourne, Pokesdown and Southbourne.
If the schemes are approved all qualifying landlords will be required to hold a licence, which is subject to a fee. License fee income can only be used towards the costs of administering the scheme.
Following the consultation, a detailed analysis of results, recommendations will go back to Cabinet later in the year. Secretary of state approval may be required prior to implementation of a selective licensing scheme, if the combined proposed areas cover more than 20% of the total private rented accommodation across the BCP Council area.