Landlords will now need a licence to rent out rooms in a move to clamp down on unsafe homes for tenants – or face prosecution and fines of up to £30,000.

Every property with multiple individually let rooms across the borough will need to be registered by its landlord from July 1.

It comes after flats in the borough were found in horrific conditions, including with cockroaches and rodent infestations, dangerous wiring and plumbing, a cardboard box used as a toilet and fly-tipping.

Under the new scheme, landlords with any rental property within the designated area covering parts of the Chalvey and Central wards will also be required to apply for and obtain the new landlord licence.

The aim of the new licensing system, brought in by Slough Borough Council (SBC), is to improve the standards of the thousands of houses and bedsits across the area to make tenants safe.

Landlords will have to provide evidence their property is safe through valid utilities certificates and provide contact details to the council in order to get a licence.

SBC says Slough has more than the national average of rental rental accommodation in the borough which currently stands at 33 per cent. In Central and Chalvey wards 50 per cent of all homes are privately rented accommodation.

A “significant proportion” of the rental properties are also houses in multiple occupation (HMO).

Councillor Mohammed Nazir, cabinet member for housing and community safety, said the move was part of a significant shift to protect private rental residents in Slough, many of whom are vulnerable, and was equivalent of a property MOT.

He said after years of council officers seeing homes without safe and adequate electricity, plumbing or just basic facilities, it was time the council protected residents.

He said: “In some cases tenants had no idea who their landlord actually was so when a problem, possibly a safety problem, arose there was no way of getting it fixed so people continued to live in dangerous conditions or without adequate facilities.

“A lot of the people who rent in Slough are vulnerable, families with young children, or legal workers who have no family or friends to rely on and basically put up with poor conditions as they have nowhere to turn.

“With a licensing system where landlords are compelled to sign up, there will be accountability and people who need help can get it.

“People’s lives are hugely affected by the property they live in whether that be their mental or physical health, and we need to try and redress that.”

Cllr Nazir added that poorly run rental properties also have a negative impact on the areas they are in.

He said: “Poor properties attract poor tenants which has an impact on the local communities with anti-social behaviour and other issues like fly-tipping.

“With licences the expectation is that better properties will attract better tenants. This will then potentially have the knock-on effect of improving the quality of the property and then the area.

“Landlords will then benefit from areas becoming more desirable and the value of the property increasing.”

Landlords can apply for an additional licence for HMOs before October 1 will be eligible for an early bird discount – they will have to pay £450 for an HMO of up to six rooms. There will be an additional charge of £30 per extra room after the initial six.

Licence applications made before October 1 under the Selective Licensing Scheme, for all rental properties within a designated area, will be subject to a charge of just £200. Licences last for up to five years.

After the enforcement date of 1 October this year, landlords who have not applied for a licence will have to pay extra enforcement fees of £300 per property under each licensing scheme.

Landlords who have not obtained a licence after October 1 will be prosecuted and unlicensed landlords could face a fine of up to £30,000.

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