A new selective licensing system in Southend has been suspended after councilors complained they had no details on how it would work.
The scheme was given the go-ahead in March and was scheduled to open on 1 . start offNS December, but has now been referred back to cabinet after a narrow vote in a full council meeting.
Council members previously expressed fears that the municipality is already struggling to manage the HMO licensing system.
Conservative group leader Tony Cox told the meeting: “We have no detailed recommendations on how we are going to implement the scheme. What we don’t have is how the scheme will be managed, but if we want to have a scheme it has to be compliant and robust and all options have to be looked at.”
Last month, Conservative Councilor Meg Davidson told: The Leigh Times that she was concerned about the costs and staffing of the scheme, which is intended to cover all private rental properties in the Milton, Kursaal, Victoria and Chalkwell areas.
Said Davidson (pictured): “Licensing and inspecting 3,500 or more properties is a huge undertaking and I am concerned that if you go to the HMO Licensing Scheme, it was a struggle to do about 100.”
An audience consultation earlier this year received no fewer than 1,792 responses, of which two-thirds (68%) agreed with the proposal. However, 20% strongly disagreed, the majority of whom were landlords/agents (74%).
Many believed that the cost would be passed on to the tenants or that it would punish good landlords while allowing bad landlords to operate.
The South Essex Alliance of Landlords and Residents (SEAL) is against selective licensing and was originally set up to coordinate a response.
This has evolved into a formal partnership with the Municipality to improve the quality of PRS accommodation and reduce anti-social behavior in all SEAL managed properties.