I see from today's Thanet Gazette, that plans by the council (presently under consultation) to introduce 'Selective Licensing' of rented properties in the most deprived wards in Margate and Cliftonville is encountering stiff resistance from landlords. The local paper reports one view that such a measure might be 'illegal' and the landlords' association claim that there is no evidence to link the density of privately rented properties and social landlords with prevalent anti-social behaviour and crime statistics.
Without offering any opinion, I am aware of a number of such selective successes elsewhere in the country, which have stimulated the idea of introducing it in Thanet. Looking at my notes from a meeting earlier in the year, I see that 84% of dwellings are flats, 45% involve single persons and 57% are indicated as not meeting a decent homes standard; with 21% of residents living there less than a year. Annual turnover approaches 30%.
Last month, I watched a BBC Panorama programme on rented social housing with some interest but I'm equally interested in reading and hearing the views from all sides when it comes to the real challenge of making those more deprived areas of Cliftonville and Margate, with such high levels of disability, incapacity and benefits, a safer, cleaner and more decent place to call home.