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Bournemouth extending licensing

Bournemouth council has launched a consultation on introducing selective and additional licensing in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

The council proposes introducing Selective licensing schemes across areas including:

  • Bournemouth Town Centre
  • Poole Town
  • Southbourne

The consultation closes on 6 April 2020 after which the council are required by the Department for Communities and Local Government to fully consider the comments and publish their conclusions.

Selective licensing  If selective licensing is approved, it will mean landlords in the private rental sector in the designated areas will be required to obtain a license for their rental property. The selective licensing is proposed because there is significant and persistent problems caused by anti-social behaviour which some landlords are not taking seriously. There is also a high level of deprivation in the areas which affects a significant number of the occupiers of the properties.

Additional licensing  Additional licensing is also proposed by the council on a borough-wide additional HMO scheme. If approved the additional licensing will require landlords to obtain a HMO license for properties occupied by 3 or 4 people from 2 or more households who share facilities. The additional licensing is proposed because properties in the area are overcrowded and not well managed which contributes to the anti-social behaviour.

The rationale for the licensing schemes is that it will tackle anti-social behaviour which appears to be on the rise, waste accumulations, noise-nuisance, crime, overcrowding and poor property conditions. The council hopes that by introducing the schemes tenants and vulnerable groups will be protected from the social and health effects of poorly managed and maintained properties with the ultimate aim of reducing inequality of housing. Furthermore, it is hoped that licensing will create sustainable private rental sector which will make the area safer and desirable. It is also hoped that licensing will encourage good landlords to operate in the area and make it easier to involve them in wider strategies affecting the local community.

There is little evidence which supports the council’s suggestion that licensing improves local conditions. Whilst, it is certainly the case that if HMOs are extended property management may well improve to comply with licensing conditions. It is certainly not the case that this will lead to an automatic reduction in opportunistic and irresponsible landlords and tenants who are regularly engaging in criminality. Time will no doubt tell.



The contents of this blog post is not legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only. If legal advice is needed readers should contact a solicitor. No responsibility for any information contained within this post is accepted and PainSmith solicitors accepts no liability in respect of the contents or for action taken based on this post.

Published 17 March 2020

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