The size of the Private Rented Sector in Portsmouth has grown significantly in recent years with YouGov now estimating some 35% of all properties in the city are rented from a private landlord.
The rapid growth in the number of privately rented homes has led to a range of issues relating to housing conditions, property management and anti-social behaviour, particularly in areas with high concentrations of privately rented homes.
In July 2019 the Labour Group proposed a motion calling on the council to strengthen renters’ rights and drive up standards in the Private Rented Sector by implementing Additional Licensing and Selective Licensing schemes.
Such licensing schemes allow councils to ensure landlords and letting agents meet ‘fit and proper persons’ tests in addition to placing responsibilities on them to prove their properties meet decent housing standards.
The administration accepted the need to do more to regulate rented housing and tasked council officers with drafting a Private Rented Sector strategy. That draft strategy, approved by Cabinet in March 2020, recommended consulting on introducing an Additional Licensing scheme for small HMOs.
However, the draft strategy does not propose to explore the use of a Selective Licensing scheme to cover non-HMO privately rented properties. This is a missed opportunity to improve renters’ rights and drive up housing standards in the Private Rented Sector.
That is why we proposed a motion to October’s Full Council meeting which:
- Supported the progress that has been made toward developing a council strategy for the Private Rented Sector.
- Requested Cabinet reconsider its decision not to include Selective Licensing as a policy intervention as part of the Private Rented Sector strategy.
- Suggested it be explored whether more stringent conditions can be put into landlord licensing agreements with regard to responsible property management, for example dealing with anti-social behaviour.
The council is consulting on the draft Private Rented Sector Strategy and residents have until Wednesday 11th November to have their say by completing the survey here: https://www.research.net/r/PRSConsultation2020
If you agree with us that the council should be doing more to drive up housing standards and improve renters rights through landlord licensing we’d encourage you to complete the survey and make this point in the ‘Further comments’ text box.