Landlords in a part of Teesside are to be allowed to operate a “collaborative” licensing scheme after a council backed down following protests about its own £845-a-property proposal.
Stockton council was proposing to introduce a selective scheme in two parts of the area but backed down when local landlords - in a group called Private Landlords Supporting Stockton (or PLuSS) - came up with a rival idea.
PLuSS members own two thirds of the private rental properties in the areas concerned and have proposed a self-funding tenant referencing scheme which will also embrace new property owners less familiar with buy to let rules and regulates.
The local media report that random inspections of rental properties will be conducted by the local council which will bring in additional staff and “take immediate enforcement action” against non-member landlords who flout the rules.
Local landlords had threatened the council with a Judicial Review if it pushed ahead with its licensing proposal. Now the authority says it will review the voluntary alternative after six months.
However, one independent councillor slammed the authority’s approach, saying: “They’ve let the poachers turn gamekeepers. We get this same kind of thing in the planning committee when they say we have to approve applications or they’ll appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.
“Let them go to judicial review - if it costs the taxpayer money it’s being done for the right reasons. We’ve got people and tenants being tortured by rogue landlords and this is an absolute cop out.”
You can see a local media story here.