Quality streets: New landlord licence scheme to improve parts of Hartlepool

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

PRIVATE landlords operating in parts of Hartlepool are set to require a licence as part of a proposed new scheme.

Hartlepool Borough Council is on the verge of introducing selective licensing in 13 town streets.

If approved at a meeting of the council’s Regeneration Services Committee tomorrow, the scheme will be launched in four town wards comprising 544 properties.

It would require private landlords who own properties in those areas to obtain a licence to operate.

The council says the scheme can be used to help regenerate areas by improving the way private rented properties are managed by landlords.

A report by Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director for regeneration, said: “The private rented sector plays an important role in meeting housing demand in Hartlepool and this proposed model of co-regulation would ‘keep on board’ those landlords who are keen to provide good quality, well managed accommodation which provides them with a good return on their investment and support the growing number of amateur or part-time landlords operating in the town.”

The proposed areas for the scheme to operate 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.

The council is also proposing to introduce a Voluntary Landlord Scheme and General Register of Landlords, to complement the Selective Licensing Scheme.

A consultation period ran for almost 17 weeks from July to October last year.

Mr Wilson added in the report: “It is widely acknowledged that, particularly in areas of the town which are currently being considered for selective licensing, there is a need to increase and improve the level of professionalism of some private landlords operating in this sector, and this may be best achieved by a form of regulation.”

He said the consultation showed that landlords in the town are not predominantly ‘rogue’ or ‘bad’ but amateur or accidental landlords are often not aware of their legal obligations associated with maintaining homes.

Private rented housing accounts for 14.8 per cent of Hartlepool’s overall housing stock, or 5,971 properties.

And the number of households renting has doubled between 2001 and 2011.

Exemptions will include those managed or controlled by Registered Providers, local housing authorities and where the property is occupied by students and a tenant is related to the landlord.