People in Croydon borough are being invited to have their say on a landlord licensing scheme which the council say will protect tenants and crack down on rogue landlords who provide poor quality housing.

‘A Better Place to Rent’ will improve conditions in private rented accommodation by requiring every private landlord to obtain a licence, whereby they will have to demonstrate they have met a series of health and safety checks, said a council spokeswoman.

“The scheme will also require stringent “fit and proper” checks of landlords for any criminal convictions.

“Those renting out a property without a licence face fines of up to £20,000, while those who fail to comply with licence conditions can be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000.

“Private renting has increased significantly in Croydon with one of the negative consequences being poor quality homes, noise, litter, fly-tipping and antisocial behaviour.

“The scheme aims to tackle these problems by bringing in tougher controls of private landlords.

“Croydon has approximately 30,000 privately rented properties, and this scheme aims to ensure they are decent and safe places for tenants to live” the spokeswoman added.

Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “We want to make Croydon a better place to rent. I have spoken to many tenants who fear reporting their poor housing conditions as they feel they risk losing their homes.

“Similarly, I have spoken to many residents, up and down our borough, who say their lives are blighted by poorly kept rented accommodation on their streets.

“We want to get a better deal for private tenants – and for landlords too. A landlord with a licence means a landlord who is responsible, takes care of his/her property, and tenants too.

“We’ve looked closely at how a similar scheme has worked in Newham, which was very well-received, with no evidence of rent levels changing.

“We realise this proposal has already triggered a lot of debate, and so we urge both tenants and other local residents to have their say by taking part in this consultation.”

Consultation begins on 17 November and runs until 12 December. People can take part by visiting http://www.croydon.gov.uk/betterplacetorent

A forum event will also be held at the Conference Centre in Surrey Street, Croydon, from 6pm to 7.30pm on Thursday, 27 November. People must register if they wish to attend, as numbers are limited. Visit http://www.m-e-l.co.uk/croydon.aspx or call MEL research on 0121 604 4664.

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