Image Source: Ethan Wilkinson

Property inspections to commence for Durham County Council selective licensing scheme

Properties which fall under a council’s selective licensing scheme will be subject to an inspection programme from next month.

Durham County Council launched the scheme in April to ensure rented properties are maintained to a high standard.

The scheme requires all private landlords to obtain a licence to legally rent properties in designated areas of the county, which are then inspected to ensure this standard is maintained.

Landlords are required to carry out any necessary action identified during the inspection, such as repairs, in order to comply with the licence conditions. Failure to do so may result in enforcement action.

After the scheme’s approval by the government in November 2021, landlords were invited to apply for a licence before the first inspections begin in August.

The licence fee per rented property is a maximum of £500 and covers the length of the five year scheme. A number of discounts are available if landlords meet certain criteria, however the reduction period for new applicants comes to an end on 31 July.

Cllr James Rowlandson, the council’s cabinet member for resources, investments, and assets, said: “We’re urging landlords to apply for a licence for their properties that fall within a designated area as this is now a legal requirement.

“There is still time to apply this month and take advantage of the discount available for new applicants, so we are encouraging eligible landlords to not miss out on the offer.

“The scheme is about holding landlords accountable who fail to provide appropriate living standards for their tenants. This is an opportunity for landlords to ensure their properties meet the required standard ahead of inspection, and to ensure they are complying with their legal obligations.”

A total of around 29,000 homes, or 42 per cent of the private rented sector in the county, is covered by the selective licensing scheme.

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