PRESSURE is being applied on Worcester City Council's new leadership to revisit old proposals to 'licence' homes.

The Conservative administration, which took over from Labour in June, is being asked to look at a controversial project to force particular property owners to be on a council register.

The idea, which would apply to multiple-let rented homes, would almost certainly mean the owners being asked to stump up a fee to fund a mandatory inspection regime.

At the moment the city council has no idea how many so-called HMOs (houses of multiple occupation) there are across Worcester out of the 42,000 properties.

But based on the 2011 census, 18 per cent of all city properties were rented, a six per cent increase on 2001.

The costs of launching an inspection register would vary massively depending on whether it applied to just HMOs or all rented properties.

The old Labour leadership was preparing to launch some kind of inspection regime before it was dumped from office, and is urging the new leadership to bring something forward.

The issue was debated during a meeting of the council's scrutiny committee, where housing staff turned up to say rented homes are on the rise.

Sally Kelsall, strategy and partnership manager, said: "We've all seen the growth of the university over the years.

"The number of applications there have more than doubled."

She said census data showed 18 per cent of homes in the city are rented, a fairly high tally compared to other cities, but that it was now three years old.

She told the committee more and more people moving into Worcester are now renting rather than buying.

Labour group Councillor Adrian Gregson, who chairs the scrutiny committee, said: "The facts speak for themselves, it was a key reason why the previous administration wanted to look into a licensing regime for the city."

Ruth Mullen, the council's corporate director for service delivery, which includes housing, said: "The administration is new and is taking time to review a lot of things, and I think we're now moving to a position where it will be considering this.

"I think it's fair to say the standard and quality (of the rented housing sector) has been an issue for many members of the council."

The Conservative cabinet will be discussing the issue at its next cabinet meeting on Tuesday, July 29.

Councillor David Wilkinson, cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: "We are currently reviewing all the evidence with a view to seeing if we need to extend what we do already around HMOs.

"On the wider issue of all private rented properties, there are no plans to introduce licensing for those."