Forcing bad landlords to clean up their act

Sheriff Street would be one of those improved, says Damien Wilson (right) in his report
Sheriff Street would be one of those improved, says Damien Wilson (right) in his report

A SCHEME to force bad housing landlords to clean up their act will be introduced after being approved by councillors.

A Selective Licensing scheme will see private landlords in 13 Hartlepool streets require a licence to operate.

It aims to clamp down on nuisance tenants and drive up housing standards for 544 properties.

There were calls from councillors and members of the Public for more streets to be included in the Hartlepool Borough Council scheme.

But officers warned they should only include streets where there was evidence to show there were problems to protect them from a potential judicial review by private landlords.

The council included streets where at least 50 per cent are privately rented and there was a repeat antisocial behaviour rate of 15 per cent.

Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director of regeneration, said: “If you’ve got bad landlords and bad management agents who don’t do proper reference checking and bung anybody in you end up with problems such as antisocial behaviour and drug dealing.

“This is all about driving up standards.”

He added selective licencing has worked in other areas of the town and elsewhere in the country.

The streets that will be the subject of the new five-year scheme are Cornwall Street, Kimberley Street, Richmond Street, and Rydal Street in the Burn Valley ward. In Foggy Furze ward it includes Borrowdale Street and Sydenham Road.

Five streets in Victoria Ward of Dent Street, Furness Street, Sheriff Street, Straker Street, and Stephen Street.

Burbank Street and St Oswald’s Street are also included in the Headland and Harbour and Jesmond wards.

Julie Rudge, secretary of the Dent and Derwent Street Residents’ Association said she was disappointed other streets around Dent Street were not included.

“I know there are issues in streets you are taking out,” she said.

Councillor Carl Richardson said residents of Belk Street also wanted to be included.

Councillor Pam Hargreaves said: “Picking out one or two streets makes it toothless.”

Officers agreed provide details of other streets that could be included if they lowered the criteria standards at the next meeting.