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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Labour chief and anti-agent group want city-wide rental licensing

A senior Labour politician in Sheffield and the campaign group Acorn have both expressed support for a selective licensing scheme to be extended across the entire city.

Ben Curran, who chairs Sheffield council’s communities scrutiny committee, is quoted by the Sheffield Star as saying: “In general I think we should have more control and oversight of the private rented sector. I think if selective licensing was something we could do across the city, personally I would be in support of that.

“But I know from discussions I’ve had previously, there are some legislative issues around that.”

His comment came after the local branch of community action group Acorn - which has in other cities held protests outside letting agents’ offices and accused some of providing sub-standard housing - called for a roll-out of a selective scheme across all of Sheffield.

Acorn’s Ben Manovitch tells the Star: “We have been pushing for selective licensing to be citywide in Sheffield because we’ve encountered numerous cases of poor housing across the city. This [new council] report demonstrates that selective licensing is an extremely effective tool in identifying problems and raising living standards.

“The reality is selective licensing ensures that those who can’t afford to buy their own house, those without means, are not forced to languish in rented houses which have a serious and immediate risk to people’s health.”

It comes after a Sheffield council report showed there were 164 homes in the current selective licensing zone with serious hazards including fire, falls down stairs, excessive cold, mould and damp.

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