Plans put forward to improve the standards of privately rented properties in East Durham

Proposals to raise the standards of privately rented properties in County Durham are being put forward in a scheme to create better housing for residents.

Durham County Council is proposing to introduce a selective licensing scheme across the county which would ensure good standards of private rental properties.

The licensing scheme means landlords would need to apply to the council for a licence and meet the criteria for it to be issued.

An increase in well-managed and maintained housing through the scheme is hoped to result in fewer empty properties, improve the health and wellbeing of tenants and reduce anti-social behaviour, while providing support and training to landlords.

Cllr Kevin Shaw, Cabinet member for strategic housing and assets, said: “We want to ensure that all our residents across the county have the choice of safe and well-managed accommodation that maintains a high-quality private rented sector.

“Through the selective licensing scheme, we will be able to work closely with landlords to provide information, advice, guidance and tenancy support. We will also be able to work with tenants themselves to help improve the standards of housing and with our communities to reduce anti-social behaviour.”

The scheme would apply to approximately 51,000 properties across the county in areas where there is low demand, a significant or persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour, poor property conditions, or high levels of migration, deprivation or crime.

Landlords would need to apply for a licence for each residential property they rent out in a designated area, and show they have adequate management arrangements in place. A licence will last for five years.

A consultation for the proposals will run for ten weeks from Monday 17 February 2020 to 5pm on Monday 27 April 2020.

Community drop-ins and landlord events will be held during the consultation period while a survey is available online.

For more information about the scheme, to see if your property will be affected and to have your say, visit www.durham.gov.uk/consultation

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