Landlord licensing scheme widened in Bristol

More landlords in Bristol have to comply with the city’s licensing scheme after the area it covers was widened.

People renting properties in the Horfield, Bedminster and Brislington West wards of the city are affected by the change, and landlords will have until July 5 to apply for a five year licence.

In Hornfield, where a third of the homes are privately rented, the licensing scheme only covers HMO landlords. HMOs are defined as a house or flat occupied by three or more unrelated people who live together and share facilities including kitchens or bathrooms.

In Bedminster and Brislington West the scheme covers all private rented homes, not just HMOs, that are occupied by one or two tenants. It doesn’t include homes with a live-in landlord that rents out fewer than three rooms.

Across the three areas the total number of HMOs that now require the landlord to be licensed is 686, while in Brislington West and Bedminster the licensing schemes will cover 2,222 rented homes that aren’t HMOs.

HMO licenses cost £1,300 in Bedminster, Brislington West and Horfield. For a non-HMO in the latter areas it costs £799 for five years.

Bristol’s housing chief, Cllr Tom Renhard, said: “Although most private landlords provide a good standard of accommodation and service to their tenants, many do not.

“Some houses are in poor condition and poorly managed, with a significant number let to vulnerable tenants who are unaware of their rights or are not aware of the minimum standards of accommodation their landlord should provide.

“We are clear that the small minority of rogue landlords and property agents who knowingly flout their legal obligations, rent out accommodation which is substandard and harass their tenants, should be prevented from managing or letting housing.

“We take the wellbeing of people renting properties across the city very seriously and we want everyone to feel confident that their home is safe and fit for habitation. Property licensing is one of a number of tools we are using to make sure all rented properties in the city are up to a certain standard.

“Living in a home that is in poor condition, or being badly managed, can have a significant negative impact on the health and wellbeing of tenants. We will continue to lead the way in doing what we can to protect and empower people living in privately rented housing, including having a strong voice nationally to hold government to account on the long-delayed renters reform bill.

“We would encourage all landlords to apply for the relevant licenses and to work with us to help protect vulnerable tenants and make people across the city more comfortable in their homes.”

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