LANDLORDS needing to apply for licences as part of scheme to improve private sector housing in Leicester have until next month to get an early bird discount.
Leicester City Council introduced Selective Licensing in three areas of the city in October 2022, requiring privately-rented homes to be licensed in order to protect the most vulnerable people, help safeguard tenants and identify rogue landlords.
The scheme is in operation in three main cluster areas of the city which have a high proportion of private sector rented properties - one cluster area comprises parts of Westcotes, Fosse, Braunstone Park and Rowley Fields wards, while another includes Stoneygate, and a third cluster includes part of the Saffron ward.
Landlords in those areas must apply for licences, and if they do so before April 10, 2023, they can benefit from an early bird offer which discounts the cost of a licence by 10 per cent.
In addition, a series of drop-in sessions for landlords is taking place in communities across the city, to ensure those who have not get applied have access to the information they need.
Sessions are taking place at the Brite Centre, New Parks Library, St Matthews Community Centre and Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, between March 7 and 31.
Full details of dates and venues are available here.
To book an appointment at one of the sessions call 0116 454 7130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Selective Licensing places conditions on landlords to ensure issues such as gas and electrical safety, installation of smoke, fire and carbon monoxide alarms are adequately dealt with, along with matters such as repairs and maintenance, waste disposal, tenancy management and addressing antisocial behaviour.
Since the scheme was launched, more than 700 applications for licences have been submitted, although three quarters of those were missing vital information, meaning a delay in granting the licence while the additional information was handed in.
In over 90 percent of cases, applicants have had to carry out works to tackle problems ranging from longstanding, minor issues to more serious safety concerns such as missing handrails, windows which tenants could fall from, damp and mould linked to poor heating and ventilation, and fallen masonry left in gardens.
Home fire safety checks are also being carried out on behalf of Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service.
Over 230 full licences have so far been issued, along with 97 draft licences which will become full licences after 14 days.
The combined area of the schemes covers less than 20 percent of Leicester’s geographical area and fewer than one in five privately rented homes in the city, focusing on areas where there is evidence of ongoing issues, and strengthening the existing mandatory powers councils have to tackle problems.
Leicester assistant city mayor for housing, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, said: “Selective licensing is a vital tool in raising standards in the private rented sector for all.
“The scheme has now been running for four months, and in that time we’ve already addressed a range of safety issues which landlords needed to sort out in order to ensure their properties meet a suitably high standard.
“Landlords who have not yet applied need to do so, and if they apply before April 10 will benefit from a discounted rate.
“We’re running a series of drop-in sessions over the coming weeks to ensure that all landlords who are eligible are aware of what they need to do, and why.”
The Selective Licensing scheme will run for five years. The licence will cost £1,090 but various discounts will be available including for early applications, charitable organisations, properties with good energy efficiency and landlords with multiple properties.
Money from the licensing scheme will be ringfenced for operating and enforcing it in the three target areas.
It is part of a broader wide-ranging programme work under Leicester’s first ever Private Rented Sector Strategy, which was launched in November 2021 and sets out plans to support both tenants and landlords in the private sector.