Plans to renew the landlord licensing scheme created by Croydon Council to raise standards and conditions in private rented homes across the borough will go to cabinet for approval next week.
The council launched its borough-wide scheme in October 2015 so privately-rented homes met key housing, environmental and safety standards, and it now covers over 36,400 properties.
The scheme requires all private landlords to hold a Croydon property licence and to meet certain requirements, including inspections every six months, safety measures such as fire alarms, and giving tenants a well-insulated home.
Since its launch, the council has ensured private tenants live in a decent, licensed home by taking action against non-compliant landlords including thousands of improvement notices, enforcement measures and inspections, banning over 70 landlords and fining or prosecuting dozens of the most serious breaches in cases through the courts.
Ahead of the current five-year scheme expiring on 30 September, Croydon Council carried out formal public consultation between December and March on three options for a renewed scheme.
Residents, landlords, letting agents, community groups and other members of the public were consulted in person and online on three options – Option 1, which would see the scheme cover part of the borough; Option 2, where the sole focus would be housing conditions; and Option 3, which would see the scheme cover the whole borough, targeting antisocial behaviour in six wards in the south and poor housing conditions in 22 wards mainly in the north and centre of the borough.
Following public feedback, the recommended option going to cabinet on Monday (11 May) is Option 3. If the council’s cabinet approve this at the virtual meeting on Monday, the new scheme will then go to the government for final permission later this year.
The standard cost for a five-year licence would remain at £750, with some discounts available including a £350 fee for current licence holders. Under the existing scheme, over 80% of applicants paid a reduced fee. Under the proposed renewed scheme all licences would continue to last five years unless there are concerns with how a landlord runs a property, in which case there is an annual inspection and licence review.
The new scheme would include an improved support service for landlords and tenants, including a tenants’ welcome pack and template documents so it is easier to do inspections and safety checks.
“Over the last five years our landlord licensing scheme has raised living conditions for thousands of private tenants across the borough, but we want to do more.
“With a rise in private lettings, these proposals are all about working with landlords and tenants to further improve the standard of rented homes in Croydon while tackling antisocial behaviour.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services
The existing scheme has inspected over 13,000 properties, resolved thousands of incidents with landlords without needing further action, served over 1,000 enforcement notices, issued 75 prohibition orders, and fined or prosecuted over 40 landlords. Successful court cases include a couple who let a home without working smoke alarms to a family whose son later died after a fire.