16:11 PM, 11th April 2012, About 12 years ago 2
Rows of unsightly “To Let’ boards outside buy to let homes could be banned if MPs vote in favour of a proposed new law.
Some cities already have local planning rules limiting the size, colour and number of boards, but Newcastle East MP Nick Brown wants to extend the law nationwide.
Brown, a former Labour government minister, claims he has had complaints of some boards left up in student neighbourhoods for months at a time.
He also accused letting agents of leaving the boards on display as free advertising for their services.
The main problem in Newcastle is in the student areas of Jesmond and Heaton.
“The letting signs serve no useful purpose. The reason that letting agents keep putting them up is to advertise their services,” Brown told the local Chronicle newspaper..
“My plan is to delete the law that lets them do this and instead let local authorities make by-laws to permit letting signs in zones if they want to. The starting point would be that they are banned.
“I get a lot of complaints from residents i about this, and talking to colleagues I know it is an issue in other constituencies as well.”
He wants to put his proposal before Parliament as a 10-minute rule Bill in May.
The likelihood of the proposal becoming law is slight – few 10-minute bills make the statute book and are often used as publicity for MPs rather than serious attempts at changing laws.
By lodging the bill, Brown reassures his constituents that he is listening to their complaints and taking some action.
A National Landlords Association spokesman said: “Planning regulations limit the size and location of boards, as well as specifying the duration for which they can be used.”
Many councils have by-laws banning estate agent and letting agent boards, especially in conservation areas.