Plans are being put together to introduce a selective licensing scheme in Weymouth.

A selective licensing scheme would mean that private rented property would need to have a licence, and undergo regular check-ups.

The private rented sector is the only housing option available for some of the most vulnerable people in the area. It is hoped that the scheme would help improve poor quality housing to make landlords more accountable and professional.

Council officers discussed the plans for a selective licensing scheme at a Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Scrutiny and Performance committee meeting.

The plans come after a report by the Melcombe Regis Board identified a high proportion of property in the private rented sector with concerns for the condition of that property; the level of deprivation, and crime recorded in the area.

The report also showed evidence of significant and persistent anti-social behaviour within the area which is linked to local residence.

Councillor Gill Taylor, the borough council spokesman for housing, said: “It’s not going to be a quick fix but it is a direction we are looking at.

“Council officers have been asked to come up with a scheme.

“I think there was quite a lot of local opposition to it which is why I have met with local landlords.

“We need to engage with landlords, they are part of the solution and they shouldn’t be seen as the enemy.

“What we have to be careful about is that landlords could either sell up because of the regulations on them or pass the increases on to their tenants who could end up with higher rents.

“At the moment landlords have little incentive to improve the standards of housing because they don’t need to.”

Cllr Taylor also described the process of introducing a selective licensing scheme.

She said: “We need to gather more evidence but then we will run the selective licensing scheme through the Melcombe Regis Board then it will go to the borough council’s management committee and consultations will be held with landlords and tenants.

“If it is accepted then it will be sent to the Secretary of State for approval which could take some time.”

A council officer also discussed how selective licensing may come into effect in Melcombe Regis.

He said: “I suppose the phrase ‘selective licensing’ might not mean much to people but one of the options may be that in central Weymouth, in the Park district and commercial centre, it may be a requirement that anyone renting has to have a licence.

“It will enable us drive up the standard of private rented sector accommodation.

“It will enable us to visit all properties we rent out to ensure they are safe and warm and dry and they’re not a hazard to the people who live in it.

“We are way off that but that is one of the options that will be considered.”