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SCC rejects landlord licenses: There isn't a need, says Council Cabinet Member

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Cabinet Member Paul Wood has rejected calls for city-wide landlord licensing

Sheffield City Council has rejected calls from a renters' union for city-wide landlord licensing.

The plans proposed by ACORN would require all landlords in the city to obtain a license to rent out property.

The application process would include a 'fit and proper' person test, as well as Council inspections to assess the safety of rented properties.

We have many excellent landlords in the city and they help us to house the people of Sheffield

"There isn't a need, or evidence to show that we need city-wide licensing in Sheffield," Councillor Paul Wood, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, told Now Then.

"However, we are always reviewing individual neighbourhoods where we see issues with high numbers of private rented properties."

City-wide licensing has been in place in Liverpool since 2015, and in the London borough of Newham since 2013.

In Sheffield, a smaller scheme was introduced last year around London Road, Abbeydale Road and Chesterfield Road. Privately rented properties in the area were found to be particularly poor, with the Council identifying "serious health and safety hazards" in 70% of the properties it inspected.

An older scheme in Page Hall resulted in 95% of rented properties becoming free of serious hazards.

"We have many excellent landlords in the city and they help us to house the people of Sheffield," said Cllr Wood. "But we remain tough on those landlords that don't maintain their properties or manage them properly."

In February 2018, a consultation event on the London Road scheme was ended early after ACORN members were violently threatened by landlords.

Today, the group rejected the Council's assertion that a city-wide scheme isn't needed.

Councillor Wood has chosen the side of landlords, while leaving tenants to fend for themselves

"ACORN has shown the level of public demand for citywide licensing with a petition garnering over 1,000 signatures," the group's spokesperson told Now Then.

"The need for a city-wide licensing scheme is clear, with far too many private renters stuck in properties which are unfit for human habitation."

"We see this in our own work, having defended numerous members living in unsafe and precarious housing", the spokesperson continued. "Councillor Wood has chosen the side of landlords, while leaving tenants to fend for themselves."

Sam Gregory

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ACORN members call for city-wide licensing at the Festival of Debate. Photo by ACORN.

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