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Green Councillors welcome landlord licensing extension

After a Cabinet decision on Tuesday 2 April, Bristol Council will extend a landlord licensing scheme to include 12 wards in central Bristol. The licensing scheme will be expanded to include Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Ashley, Bishopston and Ashley Down, Central, Clifton, Clifton Down, Cotham, Easton, Hotwells and Harbourside, Lawrence Hill, Redland, Southville and Windmill Hill.

The scheme means Landlords with HMOs will be charged a fee for licensing their properties - conditions will be attached to the licence to improve management practices and standards. Where landlords do not comply with the required standards, enforcement action could be taken by the council.

Green Councillor Carla Denyer, who has repeatedly called for landlord licensing in Bristol over recent years, welcomed the news.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Denyer said:

“It’s great to see the HMO landlord licensing proposal go through at today’s Cabinet meeting. I have been campaigning for extended licensing of the city’s landlords for years, working closely with ACORN tenants’ union. While Clifton Down is in many ways a privileged part of the city, and most residents feel lucky to live here, the quality of private rented accommodation is highly variable. I have met many people living in shared houses who pay extortionate rent, yet have frequent battles to get their landlord to fix a broken toilet or mend a leaking roof. This is unacceptable.

“In 2016 I called on the Mayor and Cabinet to look at extending the city’s existing licensing scheme to other areas of the city, following consultation with local communities. Today the Cabinet did just that.”

Notes / references:

  1. HMO = House in Multiple Occupation, defined as a property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (for example a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. More info: https://www.gov.uk/house-in-multiple-occupation-licence
  2. Cabinet papers containing HMO licensing proposal (Agenda Item 8): https://democracy.bristol.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=135&MId=3102&Ver=4
  3. Example press coverage from 2016: https://landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/8/councillor-calls-for-further-landlord-licensing-in-bristol
  4. Image is of Cllr Denyer doorknocking in her ward in 2018 in support of the landlord licensing consultation and ACORN petition.

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