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Victory for private rental sector as council scraps licensing proposal

A council has scrapped its proposal to introduce a licensing campaign for private sector landlords following large-scale opposition and the formation of a protest group. 

We reported earlier this month that Somerset Property Network had been formed consisting of over 50 landlords coming together in the course of little over one month. 

The group had emerged via a Facebook campaign with its members angry about each of their properties facing a five-yearly charge of £350 if the licensing proposal goes through. 

The campaign was sponsored by an agency, TR Online Lettings.

Now in a statement released with little publicity on Friday, the council has backed down.

“North Somerset Council recently decided to introduce a licensing scheme to improve poor-quality private rented housing in Weston-super-Mare town centre, following a 20-week consultation period. This has been challenged by some local landlords who have suggested a number of other alternatives which the council has decided to consider” says the statement.

“As a result  the original scheme which was due to begin on November 1 this year, will not be progressed with. The council remains committed to driving up the standards of privately rented housing across North Somerset” it continues.

The statement concludes: “Once the additional feedback provided by landlords has been considered, a further review of the options available to the improve the condition of privately rented homes will be carried out.”

It is rare - although not unheard of - for local authorities to retreat from licensing plans, even in the face of large scale opposition. 

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