Bad private landlords face a clampdown if plans to license them are approved by Croydon Council next week.
Private renting has increased significantly in Croydon recently, with negative consequences including antisocial behaviour and poor-quality homes.
The council’s proposed landlord licensing scheme would protect tenants by ensuring the borough’s 30,000 private rented properties are safe, good quality and well-run.
The licence would also force landlords to use existing powers and take action against bad tenants. Landlords breaking their licence would face fines or prosecution.
Following months of public consultation on the plans, around 70% of private tenants and local residents who responded said they supported a borough-wide landlord licensing scheme. Most landlords and letting agents who replied were not in favour.
Feedback to the consultation prompted Croydon to cut the proposed landlord licence fee to as little as £350 over five years, or 19p a day.
If the plans are approved at next Monday’s Cabinet meeting, from this summer landlords will have to apply for a licence. The council will then check if they are fit and proper, meet a series of health and safety checks and have no criminal convictions.
Landlords renting out a property without a licence would face fines of up to £20,000, while anyone breaking licence conditions could be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000.
“This licensing scheme is about making Croydon a better place to rent, and I know many residents support our proposals because badly-kept properties blight our streets.
“Antisocial behaviour is everyone’s problem – but too often we find a minority of private landlords whose failure to act damages communities.
“This licence will give peace of mind to responsible tenants and landlords looking to thrive in Croydon – it’s the dodgy landlords who should be worried.”
Councillor Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration
Croydon’s consultation was originally launched with the borough’s landlords in September and widened to the general public from 17 November to 12 December.
The council then decided to consult for 10 weeks more after the High Court ruled that Enfield Council should have consulted more widely on similar licensing plans.
Croydon’s selective licensing scheme would force landlords to use their powers under the Housing Act 1996 to keep their properties to a decent standard and tackle antisocial behaviour by their tenants.