The government has blocked a council rolling out selective licensing across no fewer than 3,000 homes in its patch.
Under Stoke on Trent council’s scheme every private landlord within each of 14 designated zones covering 154 streets would need to buy a £500, five-year licence for every property they rent out.
The council previously came out with the now-customary arguments claiming that selective licensing would have helped it tackle poor housing conditions and management practices.
The areas chosen for the widespread selective licensing were apparently chosen because of the high levels of private rented accommodation, vacant properties and anti-social behaviour.
A city council spokesman has told the Stoke Sentinel newspaper and online news service: “We can confirm we have received notification from the government department on this. We are in dialogue with the department about the decision.”
When it was considering the application to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government late last year the council admitted that to justify it, a survey of 600 properties had been undertaken in five ‘focus areas’ which apparently had higher levels of homes in disrepair than within the private rented sector as a whole.
The authority’s ruling cabinet of councillors claimed this gave a “robust indication” of the housing in the areas it wanted to make subject to new selective licensing.
Last December’s report to the cabinet - and agreed by the whole council - said: “It is considered that there are no other courses of action which will achieve the objectives of improving housing conditions and management practices as efficiently and effectively as the designation of the 14 proposed areas.
“A number of options have been considered but it is believed, that whilst these initiatives may improve housing conditions, they will not be an efficient use of resources and will not be effective as the impact will be limited in comparison to the proposed selective licensing designations.
“It is therefore considered that the making of the proposed designations will significantly assist the council to improve housing conditions and management practices to meet the council’s strategic priorities.”