A new and huge private rental licensing scheme has launched in County Durham.
A total of at least 29,000 properties, or 42 per cent of the private rented sector in the county, is covered by the scheme, which was approved by the government in November 2021.
A council statement claims: “The scheme helps to create long-term, sustainable neighbourhoods by ensuring that any privately rented properties are well managed and in good condition. It will also protect both residents and tenants alike by tackling landlords who do not comply.
“Landlords must apply for a licence and ensure their management practices and properties meet standards set out by the scheme. It promotes good management and maintenance by landlords and will see rental properties regularly inspected by the council.
“Landlords will be required to make repairs and improvements that have been identified as part of inspections and failure to comply will result in enforcement action being taken.”
Five year licences cost up to £500 with some early bird and accreditation discounts making some £350 per licence.
Councillor James Rowlandson says: "We're pleased to have launched this scheme in County Durham, encouraging landlords to manage their properties and tenancies responsibly.
"It is a key objective of the County Durham Housing Strategy and will raise the standards of private rented properties across our area. It will also improve the health and wellbeing of tenants as well as reduce anti-social behaviour in our communities.
"The scheme is also about enabling us to better support landlords so that they can give the best service possible to their tenants and holding those who fail to meet the required standard to account."