IRRESPONSIBLE landlords could soon face fines of up to £20,000 as Blackpool Council works to tighten up rules and improve housing standards.
Poorly-kept properties which do not meet safety regulations or contain noisy disruptive residents could soon become a thing of the past under a new Selective Licensing Scheme.
Under the proposals, landlords wanting to let properties will have to apply for a license and meet key standards – or face a hefty fine.
The scheme aims to combat anti-social behaviour and smarten up housing in the South Shore area of the resort.
It has already been given backing by council chiefs in a bid to continue regeneration work in the area, but today a 10-week consultation period will begin to gauge the public view.
And property owners have welcomed the scheme in principal. John McGlynn (pictured), spokesman for the Blackpool Landlords Forum, said: “There are some areas of Blackpool where properties are old and many are substandard.
“In these cases we do support Blackpool Council’s bid to persuade landlords to bring them up to an acceptable level.
“Those who do not keep well-maintained, safe properties will be warned and if the warnings are ignored, they will be fined.
“I do wonder about what justification there is for such a high license fee, but I know landlords on the accreditation scheme enjoy a good relationship with the council.”
Under the scheme, landlords will need to apply for a licence which will cost between £700 and £1,060 depending on the size of the property.
Those who do apply could face a maximum fine of £20,000 and those breaching conditions of the license could be slapped with a £5,000 fee.
Landlords will be required to “properly assess” all prospective tenants and issues like property management and fire safety will also be monitored.
The scheme will be managed by the Council’s Housing Enforcement Team which will provide support for landlords and help them to deal with problem tenants.
If introduced, Blackpool Council hopes to extend it to other areas of the resort over the next few years. Now comments are invited from landlords, residents, community groups, letting agents. Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for housing, said “This is about improving the quality of life for people living in Blackpool. “It is also about removing some of the deterrents for investment. “Until we address these issues we will not get people wanting to stay in the South Beach area.”
There are currently 751 privately-rented properties in South Shore. Many are in former bed and breakfast and holiday accommodation.