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20 February 2018
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A new licensing scheme that will support the need for decent, affordable housing, whilst reducing instances of poor housing associated with private rented accommodation, will be introduced in parts of Woking Town Centre and Maybury.
From 1 April 2018, the selective licensing scheme will require all landlords who own property within Canalside Ward (parts of Maybury and Woking Town Centre), whether they let a studio flat or own a portfolio of properties, to hold a licence for each property they operate.
The selective licensing scheme will provide a range of key benefits, including improved housing conditions, encouraging professional rental standards, tackling landlords who operate unlawfully, reducing tenant exploitation, reducing overcrowding and incidences of harassment and unlawful eviction.
Cllr Colin Kemp, Woking Borough Council's Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: "The Council is committed to creating sustainable communities with rented properties that are safe for residents and their families.
"Whilst the majority of private landlords provide good accommodation, which is why we have offered the licence free of charge until 1 April, sadly there is a small minority that prioritise profit over the health and wellbeing of their tenants. This licensing scheme will provide us with a framework to tackle these unscrupulous private landlords.
"We want to make it absolutely clear that this licensing scheme will not require responsible landlords to do any more than what is already required of them by law, other than invest a small amount of their time providing us with relevant information. This investment of time will help us to ensure that landlords who do not already meet the required standards, or in worse cases, fall well below them, are brought to our attention and where necessary, action taken against them.''
Once the selective licensing scheme commences on 1 April 2018, the Council aims to inspect all private rented property within the selective licensing area, and where health and safety hazards are found, enforcement action will be taken to remedy these hazards.
This action will ensure that private landlords carry out improvements to properties that are either non-decent or unsafe, which will improve the health and well-being of private tenants.
Act now before it's too late
All private landlords who operate private rented accommodation in Canalside Ward must apply for a licence for each property free of charge (five year licence) by 1 April 2018. Landlords who fail to apply prior to 1 April 2018 will be required to pay a licence fee of £560 (reduced to £200 for existing Woking Private Landlord Accreditation Scheme accredited landlords) for a maximum 12 month licence.
It will be a criminal offence for a private landlord to operate any private rented accommodation in the selective licensing scheme area without a licence after 1 April 2018. The Council has powers to either prosecute private landlords who commit licensing offences (maximum unlimited fine), or issue financial penalties of up to £30,000.
Landlord briefing and drop-in sessions
The Council will be hosting an informal selective licensing scheme briefing specifically to assist landlords who have any questions or queries. The briefing will be on Tuesday 6 March 2018 between 6pm and 7.30pm at H.G. Wells Conference and Events Centre. Landlords are asked to register their attendance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
A series of three drop-in sessions will also be held at the Maybury Centre, Board School Road, Woking, GU21 5HD to assist landlords complete their application and answer their queries on the following dates:
- 12noon to 2pm, Thursday 8 March
- 11am to 1pm, Wednesday 14 March
- 11am to 1pm, Wednesday 21 March.
For more information about the licensing scheme, please visit www.woking.gov.uk/selectivelicensing
Alternatively, please call 01483 755855 or email email@example.com