Council urges landlords to comply with new licensing scheme

Sandwell Council is calling on private landlords to check if their properties need a licence under a new scheme set to begin on October 1, aimed at improving housing standards in the area.

Comprehensive licensing for various property types
The new Additional Licensing scheme introduced by Sandwell Council will require every House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), bedsit, and rented room in houses to be licensed if they are not already under mandatory licensing. Landlords in the borough are encouraged to register for a licence ahead of the scheme’s implementation.

The cost of a five-year licence will be £1,001, payable in two stages, with discounts of up to £220 available for landlords who are members of accredited landlord schemes.

Council’s commitment to safe housing
Councillor Vicki Smith, Sandwell’s Cabinet Member for Housing & Sustainable Development, emphasised the council’s aim to enhance housing conditions. She stated, “We want to improve housing conditions and make sure that landlords are providing good quality, safe HMOs. While we know that many landlords already do this, there are still too many properties that are poorly managed and are in unsafe and unsatisfactory conditions. We will work with landlords to see that their property is up to standard and ensure it is safe to live in for tenants, and that all the licensing conditions and management regulations are followed.”

Consequences of non-compliance
Failure to obtain the necessary licence may result in severe penalties, including an unlimited fine upon summary conviction or a Civil Penalty of up to £30,000. The council’s stance is clear: landlords must adhere to the new regulations to avoid these significant fines.

Consultation and feedback
This scheme follows a comprehensive 10-week consultation earlier this year, reflecting feedback from various stakeholders. Currently, large HMOs—properties housing five or more people—already require mandatory licensing from the council.

By urging landlords to comply with the new licensing requirements, Sandwell Council aims to ensure safer and better-managed rental properties throughout the borough. This initiative is a significant step towards improving living conditions and protecting tenants’ rights.