An area of Nelson with the highest number of vacant properties in Pendle could be the first in the borough to have a selective licensing scheme.
Last night, Pendle Council’s Executive considered a report which recommended the council continues to investigate the need for such a scheme in parts of the borough.
And that would begin with Southfield Ward, Nelson, which has the highest number of vacant properties in Pendle – 156 – and, at 1,247, the highest turnover of housing stock, as well as a high proportion of private rented properties (26.2%).
The Housing Act 2004 gives councils the power to introduce the scheme for private rented homes in areas which have low housing demand or experiencing persistent problems caused by anti-social behaviour.
Coun. Joe Cooney, Leader of Pendle Council, has responsibility for housing regeneration.
He said: “The aim of selective licensing is to improve the management of these properties to ensure they have a positive impact on the area.
“Low demand for housing in parts of the borough has been a problem for some time.
“This means we have a high level of vacant properties, low property values and high levels of private renting coupled with poor housing standards.
“Introducing selective licensing would give us an opportunity to tackle the impact of poor quality private landlords and ensure Pendle is a great place to live for everyone.
“We’re already working hard to reduce our empty homes and deal with rogue landlords and this is our next step to improving housing standards across the borough.”
Coun. Cooney added that in areas where selective licensing has been introduced, all private landlords must apply for a licence.
If they fail to do so, or fail to achieve acceptable management standards, the council could take enforcement action such as issuing a fine or, in some cases, taking management control of the property.
Julie Whittaker, Economic and Housing Regeneration Manager, added: “We know there are a number of areas which may benefit from the introduction of selective licensing.
“But it is evident the area with the greatest problems is within Southfield and neighbouring wards.
“If we’re given the go-ahead by the Executive, we’ll continue to look at these areas to identify exactly where would benefit from selective licensing.
“This would then be consulted upon before any final decisions are made.
“Our plan is to then look at Waterside and neighbouring areas and consider whether they would also benefit from selective licensing.”