Croydon Council has this week asked for government approval to renew the borough’s landlord licensing scheme that makes sure privately-let properties meet key housing standards.
Over 48,500 properties are covered by the council’s current borough-wide scheme – launched in October 2015 to ensure private landlords meet a range of housing, environmental and safety standards.
It requires all private landlords to hold a Croydon property licence and to meet certain requirements, including landlord inspections every six months, safety measures such as fire alarms, and giving tenants a proper tenancy agreement.
Under the scheme the council has resolved thousands of incidents with landlords without needing further action, inspected over 13,000 properties, served over 1,000 enforcement notices, issued 75 prohibition orders, and fined or prosecuted over 40 landlords. Successful court cases include action against a couple who let a home without working smoke alarms to a family whose son later died after a fire.
Ahead of the current five-year scheme expiring on 30 September, Croydon Council carried out formal public consultation between December and March on three options for a renewed scheme. The option now submitted to government would see the scheme cover the whole borough, targeting antisocial behaviour in six wards in the south and poor housing conditions in 22 wards mainly in the north and centre of the borough.
Under legislation introduced since Croydon’s existing scheme came into force, final government permission is now needed for any new licensing scheme if it covers more than 20% of the private rented sector or 20% of the geographical area of a borough.
The standard cost for a five-year licence would remain at £750, with discounts available including a £350 fee for current licence holders. Under the existing scheme, over 80% of applicants paid a reduced fee. Under the proposed scheme, licences would continue to last five years. If there were concerns with a landlord, they would be issued a single-year licence and have twice-yearly inspections and an annual licence review.
The new scheme would include an improved support service for landlords and tenants, including a tenants’ welcome pack and template documents so it is easier to do inspections and safety checks.
“Our landlord licensing scheme has made a positive difference to the lives of thousands of private tenants across the borough, and the proposals we’ve now submitted to government are about building on this crucial work for another five years.
“The importance of having a decent, safe and secure home has become even clearer since the pandemic lockdown, and it underlines why we need the government to approve our scheme so we can continue to raise living standards in Croydon.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services