Lewisham’s Labour councillors are helping to tackle to Tory housing crisis, which has been exacerbated by ongoing council funding cuts, through a new licensing scheme. The Additional Licensing Scheme, set to come into force in April 2022, will oblige all landlords letting properties in three designated areas of the borough to obtain a license.
Properties will be subject to licensing criteria and inspected to ensure they are safe. The scheme, which will replace and extend the scope of the existing scheme which was introduced by Labour in 2017, will tackle overcrowding and safety issues, with non-compliant landlords being subject to fines and prosecution.
The Lewisham Labour scheme will help improve the quality of housing for residents in the private rental sector, cracking down on rough landlords who attempt to profit at the expense of those who have the least. With 30% of accommodation in Lewisham being privately rented, the changes will help ensure the most vulnerable members of the community have a safe and secure place to live. Wards with higher levels of deprivation have been specially selected to be included in the scheme.
Antisocial behaviour (ASB) will also be tacked through the scheme. Lewisham Labour knows ASB has a detrimental impact on the lives of local residents and Lewisham’s Labour councillors are taking practical steps to address the problem. Landlords letting properties in six of the worst affected wards will be obliged to provide an ASB policy to new tenants, meaning landlords can no longer ignore ASB perpetrated by their tenants. These landlords will also be required to provide evidence of their actions taken to address ASB linked to their property, within 7 days of a council request.
Labour Councillor Paul Bell, Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, said:
“The private rented sector is a major part of the housing options in our borough and the Council has a duty to do what it can to protect those tenants from unscrupulous landlords.
We know that residents in private rented homes experience higher levels of environmental antisocial behaviour in close proximity to their homes. By introducing the new licencing scheme we are delivering on our manifesto commitment to help tackle the housing crisis. We can improve housing standards and in turn improve the living standards for all people in those areas.”
A public consultation for the scheme will run from 20th October 2021 to 5th January 2022.