Great news for landlords and tenants in Southend – Barbara Carr, the NLA’s Local Representative for Essex, tells us all about it!
In recent months we’ve seen a rush by many local authorities to license landlords. Most Council’s claim this is to reduce anti-social behaviour. This was the case in Southend where a Selective Licensing scheme covering the Town Centre, Station Road and Kursaal Ward was proposed as a solution to the problem.
However, whilst they support the Council’s plans to reduce anti-social behaviour and ensure high standards of housing, many Southend landlords felt that licensing would not solve the problem. In response to the proposals, local landlords formed an alliance; The South Essex Alliance of Landlords and Residents, or SEAL. The group, chaired by Tony Prior, started their campaign to challenge Selective Licensing through a discussion with the Council about more effective ways to tackle anti-social behaviour.
The big question the landlords posed to the Council was: Has anti-social behaviour reduced in areas that already have Selective Licensing Schemes? Unsurprisingly, there was very limited evidence to suggest that Selective Licensing has been a success. In fact, most of the evidence available demonstrated that licensing landlords has had no impact on improving anti-social behaviour. This allowed SEAL to ramp up their campaign.
SEAL members believe in self-regulation through accreditation; all members belong to a landlord organisation such as the National Landlords Association. SEAL members also operate their businesses under an agreed code of conduct. It is this ethos that shaped SEAL’s campaign for Southend.
As an alternative to Selective Licensing, SEAL suggested a collaborative approach as a more progressive way forward. SEAL members proposed to work in partnership with the Council, residents, Essex Police, SMAART (Southend Multi-Agency Anti-Social Behaviour Response Team) and other relevant partners to improve and maintain the standard of accommodation for local residents. SEAL believe that proactive management of private rented accommodation in the Borough will benefit landlords, tenants, local residents and the wider community.
In light of SEAL’s campaign to implement a series of practical measures to improve and maintain standards of accommodation, Southend Borough Council have decided not to a adopt Selective Licensing scheme in the area. In fact, SEAL is to be launched at Southend Borough Council’s Landlords Forum at the Tickfield Centre, Southend-on-Sea today at 3:00pm as the campaign to improve and uphold standards in Southend.
Congratulations to all the landlords, agents and organisations involved – It just goes to show what can be achieved by working together!
We wish SEAL the best of luck in improving and upholding a high standard of accommodation and community in Southend.