The government is considering a ban on the display of To Let boards in parts of Leicester following a council bid to obtain new powers.
Letting Agent Today reported earlier this year that Leicester city council submitted a bid to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to restrict the display of To Let boards in areas close to the city’s two universities.
Now the government has started a formal consultation to allow people to comment on the council’s bid before a decision is made.
If the proposal is agreed, it would mean that formal permission would be required for to let boards to be displayed in several areas and would also give the council more powers to act against boards displayed without permission.
A council spokesman claims that in some streets around the universities To Let boards can be on display for large parts of the year – “almost permanently” he says.
“We introduced a voluntary code of practice three years ago. Unfortunately, only a handful of agents have complied with this and we continue to see large numbers of these advertisements on display. Many students looking for property to rent now use online searches when they’re looking for property, so the boards are largely used as advertising for the agents rather than serving their proper purpose” he adds.
If the ban is brought in, agents and landlords will be able to advertise vacant properties using much smaller internal boards, placed inside windows. Landlords or agents who fail to comply could face prosecution, and fines up to £2,500.
If the proposal is agreed, the new powers could be in place around the middle of next year.