A consultation on whether to introduce stronger rules to control the number of 'to let' boards in Durham has just started.
The local council introduced a voluntary code in 2009 to protect the character and appearance of the city from the display of what it calls “excessive boards.”
However, following recent increases in breaches of the code, the council is now consulting on a possible application to the Secretary of State for a Regulation 7 order.
This would remove the current rights that agents and landlords have to display lettings boards without the need for consent, giving the council the power to decide whether boards should be allowed.
A series of consultation events this month will ask whether local people would like the voluntary code to remain or would support an application to the government to give the council more power.
This could either be for an order that limits the number of boards and the length of time they can be displayed, or for one which would completely ban the boards from being used in the city without express consent.
"While we understand and appreciate the need for landlords to market their properties, this has to be balanced against the impact that letting boards can have on our beautiful and historic city. We also believe that to let boards are a minor part of the modern marketing strategy and that most students will locate property via the internet” says a council spokesman.
In recent weeks Letting Agent Today has reported on other councils considering similar actions.