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Central Gateshead and Swalwell licensing

 

There is one live landlord licensing scheme currently being implemented within Gateshead within parts of Swalwell from 2013-2108. This area was designated for licensing after widespread consultation with stakeholders. The area affected by the scheme is outlined in the map below.

Swalwell selective licensing area map (from April 2013)

Find out more about why selective licensing is used and the benefits it can bring to communities.

If you are a private landlord operating in this areas an application for a landlord licence is required for each property. Failing to apply for a licence is an offence, of which an unlimited fine can be administered.

Swalwell Licensing Scheme

The Mid Term Evaluation (753Kb) report provides an overview of the results. 

Why we consulted

We have to track the progress of our schemes by law. We consulted with residents, landlords and agents who live, own or manage property in the Swalwall licensing area. We will consult again when the scheme ends in April 2018 so we can assess the impact of the scheme on:

  • housing demand 
  • anti-social behaviour
  • identifying areas of support.

As council budgets reduce there is a need to review what we do to ensure that we can continue to deliver the scheme well. Your ideas and feedback are a crucial part of this process.

How we consulted

The consultation period ran from 10 October -1 November 2016. The consultation went to all licence holders and was hand delivered to every residential property in the licensing area. Consultations for residents and landlords were also available on the council website. 

Summary of responses

The response rate was low with 8% of residents and 20% of licence holders responding. Most of the residents who responded were owner occupiers. Their views differed from those renting from a social or a private landlord. For residents, overall satisfaction with the area was 68%. This is split by:

  • owner occupiers 52%
  • private tenants 92%
  • private landlords 54%

Residents and landlords responded that the landlord licensing scheme had been successful in;

  • improving external property conditions
  • improving internal property conditions
  • reducing the number of empty properties

The landlord licensing scheme had been least successful in helping to solve:

  • overgrown/untidy gardens
  • reducing Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB)
  • improving tenant behaviour

Landlords on the whole were more positive in relation to the success of the scheme than residents. 

We received a high number of comments and concerns from residents about litter, dog fouling and the condition of roads and pavements. A large amount of work has already been done such as:

  • overgrown garden campaigns,
  • landlord training in relation to responding to ASB issues,
  • closer partnership working with the police,
  • to ensure that tenant references are being requested when moving property.

Next steps

The team will continue to use the landlord licensing scheme in this area. We will produce an action plan of work to be done. Key priorities leading up to the expiry date, April 2018, will be;

  • refuse/littering
  • overgrown/untidy gardens
  • preventing and responding to/resolving ASB issues
  • policing of licence conditions such as ASB for example vetting and ensuring that landlords manage problems.

Central Gateshead Licensing Scheme

The Central Gateshead Phase 1 Licensing scheme ran from May 2012-May 2017. At the time of designation in 2012, data collection confirmed that the area was experiencing a wide range of issues associated with low housing demand, property values, anti-social behaviour and poor property conditions. It was considered that the schemes implementation would contribute towards the wider regeneration of the area, as well as improved property management standards.

Central Gateshead selective licensing area map

The operation and performance of the scheme against its aims and objectives has now been evaluated. In the lead up to scheme expiry a full consultation with all landlords, residents and other stakeholders was undertaken.

Read more about the scheme evaluation.

During the consulttaion 86% of respondong residents told us that landlord licensing should continue either across the whole area or parts of it. 50% of responding landlords also agreed that continued licensing should be considered.

Key interventions included:

(a) Campaigns carried out to raise awareness of problems of refuse in gardens, yards and rear lanes, and poor property condition.

(b) 59 enforcement notices served, and over 350 letters sent to landlords and owners to tackle poor housing and environmental issues.

(c) Targeted work to minimise anti-social behaviour.

(d) Property inspections to assess and improve housing conditions.

(e) Annual reviews of Licences to ensure property and tenancy management standards are being maintained.

Key outputs include:

(f) 509 number of properties licensed.

(g) 201 number of properties within the Scheme area have been Accredited, during the course of the Scheme, under the Council’s voluntary property Accreditation Scheme, that encourages the improvement of rented property standards beyond that required as a basic legal minimum.

(h) Over 70% of landlords, who own rental properties within the Scheme area, are now members of a landlord association.

(i) 75 number long term empty properties have been brought back into use.

Key outcomes have included:

(j) 79% of the licensable private rented stock within the Scheme area have reached the Council’s property Accreditation Standard.

(k) 51% reduction in complaints about private rented property condition, received by the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team.

(l) Multiple turnover rates within the area have more than halved

(m) ASB rates reported to Northumbria Police have reduced

(n) Legal action in relation to four private landlords representing six private rented homes. Five of these cases were in relation to failing to apply for a licence with fines of up to £1000 and the sixth in relation to a licence holder who failed to deal appropriately with anti-social tenants who was fined £10,000.

(o) Over £8,000 of reclaimed housing benefit payments through Rent Repayment Orders for unlicensed properties.

The continuation of landlord licensing in parts of the area is currntly being proposed. Read more about this at www.gateshead.gov.uk/landlordlicensing

For further information visit Private Landlord Licensing 

Contact us

Rachel Crosby

Phone: 0191 433 2793

Email: rachelcrosby@gateshead.gov