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Manchester City Council has begun a consultation on introducing compulsory landlord licensing in Manchester’s worst housing blackpots. Landlords renting out properties in certain areas could be ordered to buy a licence – in a bid to crack down on nightmare housing conditions, anti-social behaviour and overcrowding.
The council wants to test the idea in Crumpsall, Moston, Old Moat and Rusholme; areas considered to have poor private housing conditions.
If a consultation in the four areas suggests the idea is supported, landlords will be ordered to pay for the right to rent out their properties.
Fines of up to £20,000
If landlords are found to be letting a house or flat without a licence – or to be breaching the terms of the one they have got – the council could impose an on-the- spot fine of £5,000 or take them to court, where they would face penalties of up to £20,000.
In extreme cases the council could take over management of the property.
Currently, private landlords do not legally need a licence to rent out their property unless it is classed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). HMOs are generally for larger properties with several residents.
A similar landlord licensing scheme has been running in parts of Salford for some time, where landlords pay between£425 and £625 for the right to rent.
Manchester has previously tried landlord licensing in the north of the city between 2007 and 2011, but abandoned the move after finding it expensive and ineffective.
However, since then there have been some changes to legislation – including the power for the council to hand out on-the- spot fines. It also now has access to real-time Land Registry data, meaning it has far more information about which landlords are where.
The consultation runs from Friday 19th August to Monday 31st October and more information can be found on the council’s website here.