Our selective licensing scheme in the Canalside ward of Woking came to end on 31 March 2023.
During the duration of the scheme, landlords of every private rented property within the designated area were required to apply for a licence to be able to legally rent their property. It was put in place to support our strategic aims through:
- improving housing conditions
- encouraging professional rental standards
- tackling landlords operating unlawfully
- reducing the incidence of tenant exploitation
- improving property management
- reducing overcrowding
- promoting the advantage of landlord accreditation
- reducing the incidence of harassment and unlawful eviction
- improving neighbourhood perceptions.
Why we have closed the scheme
The projected income from the scheme has not been not achieved in terms of fees and prosecutions or civil penalty notices following the late decision to remove fees for applications submitted before implementation. The financial loss from the scheme has not been outweighed by the benefits from identifying and inspecting properties in the area.
Whilst the scheme has been closed, it has been useful for identifying private rented properties and landlords in the Canalside ward who the team will continue to engage with informally through landlord forums, regular newsletters and other events. Whilst the standards of accommodation has been found to be good in most cases, the scheme has identified that there are landlords who would benefit from a clearer set of standards to work to.
How we monitor private rented properties across the borough
With the selective licensing scheme closed, an up-to-date set of amenity standards has been adopted, which will provide consistency across the whole borough regarding what is required of private rented properties. It will also be sent to landlords who are in the process of setting up their property as a rental property, or converting their property to an HMO, to use as a checklist.