To Let Boards - Finding a better solution

Closed 9 Dec 2016

Opened 8 Nov 2016

Overview

This consultation is being undertaken to gather the views of residents, estate agents and landlords regarding the need to control To Let signs in the Queens, Stranmillis, Botanic, Holyland and Malone areas.

To Let signs are controlled by the Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015, which contain a number of classes of deemed consent. Deemed consent permits estate agent signage providing it meets certain rules such as dimensions, location and timing.  The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is responsible for the legislation and for making any changes to it.

Some residents in the Queens, Stranmillis, Botanic, Holyland and Malone areas feel that the high number of To Let signs and the length of time they are displayed, negatively impacts on their neighbourhood.  We have been engaging with estate agents and landlords to reduce the large quantities of these signs, but are now considering whether specific changes are needed to the legislation to deal with this issue in a more consistent manner.

Why We Are Consulting

We are considering applying to the DfI to remove the deemed consent in these specific areas to reduce the perceived negative impact To Let signs are having. This would mean we would have more control over how letting boards are displayed in certain areas resulting in improvements to the appearance of these areas.

There are two options which can be proposed to DfI, these are:

  1. restricting the letting boards and having smaller boards with black and white text, set flush or flat to the building for restricted timeframes. This will reduce the visual affects but may result in additional costs for estate agents and will require continuing enforcement which can be difficult, or
  2. a complete ban of all boards which would provide an immediate visual improvement but would mean landlords and estate agents having to rely on other advertising methods.

We are committed to supporting all sectors of the housing market and we understand property for rent must be advertised. However, we are concerned about the effect a large number of letting boards is having and we are keen to explore more effective ways of controlling them.

We want to hear your views on this issue.  Your feedback will help us decide how we proceed next and whether to lobby the Department for Infrastructure (DfI), requesting them to either restrict the rules around letting boards or provide for a complete ban on letting boards.

What Happens Next

The information from the questionnaires, surveys and stakeholder events will be analysed, considered by the Planning Committee and fed into a submission to the DfI so that they can undertake consultation and make a decision. 

There is no statutory timeframe for the consultation and consideration by DfI however once the submission has been sent, we may be in a position to provide an update on the likely timeframe for conclusion.

Events

Areas

  • CENTRAL
  • MALONE
  • STRANMILLIS

Interests

  • People and Communities
  • Business and Economy
  • Planning