Cornwall councillors have backed calls for a new licensing system to crack down on rogue landlords – but say more needs to be done to improve social housing.

An inquiry has taken place into the private rented sector in Cornwall.

It found that many of the houses which are privately rented in the Duchy do meet the decent standard for housing.

As a result it had recommended that one of the actions the council should take is look into setting up a licensing scheme for landlords.

This would require landlords to have a licence before they are able to rent out a property. It was hoped that this could improve the quality of homes in Cornwall.

Cornelius Olivier, the councillor who chaired the inquiry, said that it was the younger generation which was most affected by the standard of privately rented homes.

He said that a quarter of children in Cornwall live in private rented homes and that this rose to a third of all children under the age of five.

The Labour councillor said that this highlighted why it was so important to try and improve the standard of those homes.

It was proposed that the scheme would initially operate in three areas of Cornwall – Penzance, Newquay and Camborne, Pool and Redruth – which have high levels of privately rented properties.

A report was presented to Cornwall Council’s economic growth and development overview and scrutiny committee detailing the recommendations.

However while the committee backed the recommendation there were calls from some councillors for work to be done to improve the quality of social housing and properties let by housing associations in Cornwall.

Jane Pascoe, Conservative councillor for Liskeard West and Dobwalls, said she was aware of homes which were of a poor standard.

She said: “Can this apply to the public sector as well considering the poor standard and poor maintenance of Cornwall Housing homes?”

Council officers highlighted that public sector housing was already regulated and so a licensing system could not be introduced.

But Cllr Pascoe added: “We need to get our own house in order. If we are expecting high standards from private landlords then we should have the same in the public sector. We have some appalling properties that are in an appalling state of repair.”

She was backed by several other councillors who said they were also aware of public sector homes which were not of a decent standard.

Cllr David Harris said that all councillors were aware of problems with public sector homes and said he had seen some in the Malabar area of Truro that he was concerned about.

Some councillors wanted to add a recommendation that there should be inspections of public sector homes but others said that it would be unfair to do that without having looked at the evidence.

Cllr Malcolm Brown said that it would only be fair to have a similar inquiry into public sector housing before making any kind of recommendations.

Cllr Brown said: “If I was Ocean Housing (one of the housing associations providing housing in Cornwall) I would be insulted if this went through today without any proper discussion with them.”

The committee agreed to recommend the private rented sector inquiry report to the Cabinet and that the recommendations be approved.

It also agreed to set up a new inquiry to look at the quality of public sector housing in Cornwall.