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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Newcastle Council committed to “driving out” poor landlords after one agent lost 100 properties

A property agent in Newcastle has “lost” a portfolio of over 100 properties as part of the council’s drive to rid the city of poor quality landlords.

The news was revealed by Newcastle City Council’s head of public safety and regulation, Ed Foster, at a meeting of the cabinet on Monday.

Mr Foster was speaking on a report detailing a review of the council’s “selective licensing designations”, which were implemented in 2019 to improve housing conditions in privately rented properties.

He said: “What we are doing is driving out the bad landlords. One agent has lost a portfolio of over 100 properties because of poor property management.

“It is that kind of action that should be what we are doing, and by rewarding good landlords we’re showing that we are pushing for improvement. What I think we’re doing is flushing out those landlords who are not managing properties.

“We want to make sure everybody has a decent home. The scale of the property conditions that we’re finding is a significant issue.”

The city council said it was not in a position to share any more information on the agent that lost the portfolio of properties.

The selective licensing areas were brought into force in April 2020 – these were in Cowgate, East End Terrace, West End Terraces and Scotswood Village as well as Howdene Road, Howlett Hall Road, Ravenburn Gardens and part of Winley Gardens in Benwell. In October 2021, two more started in October 2021 and Greater High Cross.

It means any property in these areas requires a licence to be let out. Doing so without a licence is a criminal offence that can result in a criminal conviction and an unlimited fine, or a civil penalty of up to £30,000. The city council also requires all houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) to have a licence.

The report contained “revised licence conditions” that will be implemented from October, in order to “enhance the effectiveness of the scheme”. These include new conditions to tackle damp and mould.

Furthermore, HMOs will be required to have a hand wash basin in separate toilets, while the sharing of bedrooms by unrelated individuals who are not in the same household will be prevented. The changes were unanimously approved by the cabinet.

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