A SCHEME requiring landlords of shared homes in Southampton to pay £500 for a licence and undergo checks by the council will be discussed tonight.

Labour council leaders want to bring in a compulsory licence register for 6,500 houses in multiple occupation (HMO) where three or more unrelated people live together.

The council says it will allow it to weed out rogue landlords.

Landlord associations have warned rents will go up, the poor would be hit hardest and homelessness will rise.

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Warwick Payne said: “Good landlords have nothing to fear with this scheme and will gain from the landlord sector having a better reputation in the city and aiming for higher standards across the board.

“The aim is to improve neighbourhoods for all residents and we want to consult as widely as possible and take all views into account.”

Landlords would have to pay £500 for a five-year licence for each property shared by three or more unrelated people.

They would be subjected to a “fit and proper person” test as well as property checks by council officers.

Breaches of licence conditions around antisocial behaviour, waste in gardens and lettings signs, could lead to prosecutions, or in serious cases see the council take over the management of a property.

The council expects to hire up to 15 new staff to run the “self-financing” scheme, which will be put out to consultation by Labour council leaders tonight.