Residents, businesses and landlords are being asked their views on a proposed scheme to drive up standards in the private rented housing sector.
South Tyneside Council has today launched public consultation about plans to introduce two selective licensing schemes in the Borough.
These would require landlords of all privately-rented properties within designated areas to operate under the terms of a licence awarded by the council. The licences would come with a number of conditions aimed at ensuring accommodation was of a high standard and well-managed.
The proposed designated areas are in selected streets in the the Beacon and Bents, Simonside and Rekendyke and Westoe wards of South Shields, with the highest proportion of private rented accommodation. This will impact on around 3,000 properties, with an estimated 950 of these in the private rented sector.
Selective licensing would hold landlords and tenants more accountable for the care and cleanliness of the accommodation and surrounding area - issues which currently incur significant cost to the council to manage.
Cllr Mark Walsh, Lead Member for Housing and Transport, said: "We're interested in hearing people's views about the proposals and we will use the feedback we receive to help determine the scale of any scheme we decide to introduce.
"The private rented sector in South Tyneside, as in the rest of the country, has grown significantly in recent years and plays a vital role in the local housing market, accounting for 10 per cent of the Borough's total stock.
"However there are a number of challenges associated with this kind of housing, including neglect and poor environmental conditions, leading to anti-social behaviour.
"Selective licensing schemes would give the council a tool to better regulate the sector and help provide tenants with a greater choice of safe, good quality and well-managed accommodation.
"Turnover and the number of empty properties would be reduced, to help create more stable, sustainable communities."
One of the greatest reasons for homelessness in the Borough is the failure of tenancies in private rented accommodation.
For the council to be able to declare a selective licensing scheme there must be a high proportion of private rented properties and where there is at least one of the following issues: low housing demand; anti-social behaviour; high levels of deprivation or crime and high levels of migration.
Consultation will begin on Wednesday 15 January and run for 10 weeks. There will be a series of drop-in sessions which will give people the opportunity to see the proposed designated areas on a map and ask questions. For details on these events, plus further information about the proposed schemes and how to give your views, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/landlords