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  • Property-a-holics

    Councils failing tenants and good landlords

    Yes but very much an orchestrated farce, just about every council says the same thing, those running selective licensing schemes will be preparing reports showing how expensive it is to oversee the prs, then lo and behold there will be calls and  decision for national licensing.

    my local council has had over 6k ( to cover 10 years in total) had two visits , but only after i insisted they did so, they had no issues. They much prefer fishing expeditions by post and saying they have not had gas certs, which they have but get lost in the system, (change of email server was last excuse). Never just resend certs, my council assumes you did’nt do it when you should have if you do, and it gets logged as a breach of licence conditions, in doing so bolstering their figures for enforcing compliance.

    The PRS is the next area for empire building within council housing departments.

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    Councils across England are failing to use new powers they have been given to tackle bad landlords in the private rented sector.

    Figures given in a parliamentary answer reveal that during the 18 months until the end of September 2018 just three Rent Repayment Orders across England had been made by local authorities.

    Where the rent is paid directly by a tenant, they have the same rights to apply for a Rent Repayment Order as Councils and 18 have been made over the same period.

    Since April 2017, Councils have had the power to reclaim up to 12 months of rent from private landlords for a range of offences in instances where rent was paid through Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit. Tenants who pay their rent directly have the same rights. Offences include those related to the licensing of rented property, a failure by a landlord to comply with an Improvement Notice served on them, seeking to evict tenants illegally or engaging in harassing behaviour.

    The figures come after research by the RLA has already shown that that Councils are also failing to use new powers they have to fine landlords up to £30,000 for failing to provide acceptable housing.

    The new civil penalty powers were introduced in April 2017, and Freedom of Information requests by the RLA have found that in 2017/18 89 per cent of local authorities did not use these new powers. Half reported that they did not have a policy in place to use them.

    David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said:

    “Councils are failing tenants and good landlords. For all the talk about them needing new powers, the reality is that many are not properly using the wide range of powers they already have to drive out criminal landlords. 

    “Laws without proper enforcement mean nothing. It is time for Councils to start acting against the crooks.”


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    David is spot on. The government can continually introduce legislation to professionalise the PRS, but if this legislation isn't enforced nothing changes. Councils may have the power to enforce this legislation but do they then have the resources to deal with that enforcement?

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    This article is surely another nail into the coffin of the PRS.  It's all about CRIMINAL landlords, but no distinction made. Sad

    Why is the local authority allowing this to continue?

    From the Guardian:

    ​The stark human cost of Britain’s decade-long austerity drive, welfare reforms and warped housing priorities can be glimpsed in 11 decaying flats carved from what was once a grand Victorian terrace home in Weston-super-Mare.

    These bay-fronted houses were most likely thrown up in the Somerset resort’s 19th-century building boom, which carpeted the reclaimed marshland behind the windswept seafront with terraces, hotels and guesthouses. Now they are home to vulnerable private renters trapped in a desperate cycle of falling benefits, squalid housing and poor health.

    One of the ground-floor flats is rented by 40-year-old Jade Smith*, who is unable to work due to anxiety and depression.

    The ceilings and walls are covered with blooms of black mould spores caused by years of damp and leaks. The boiler is faulty and cuts out unless she drains it and resets the pressure three times a week. The floor in her kitchen is collapsing – her landlord put an MDF sheet below her fridge to stop it from falling through the rotten boards.

    “My mental health is going downhill rapidly due to this,” she says gesturing at the black-green spores and peeling wallpaper.

    Full/source article

    This is followed by pictures of mould ridden rooms and more examples of tenants living in horrific conditions.

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    I'm not a fan of The Guardian but credit where it's due:

     “Worryingly the evidence tells us there is a growing residual slum tenure for private rented-sector households on low incomes, whose needs are being neglected by policymakers,”

    “Tenants moving in and out of low-paid jobs, dependent on an increasingly ungenerous benefit system, have few choices,”

    “Low-earning families with children and vulnerable individuals are better placed in social housing, where rents are affordable and landlords have a greater social responsibility,” Rugg says. “We cannot expect a commercial, profit-driven sector to cater for their needs.”

    It's reassuring to see recognition of the causes rather than solely putting the blame on landlords.

    Even Polly Neate managed to point a finger at the government before blaming the PRS!

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    "...Rugg says. “We cannot expect a commercial, profit-driven sector to cater for their needs...”

    Yes you can.

    There are thousands of good landlords in the PRS who are providing good low-rent homes for people on low incomes.

    This article highlights bad landlords and bad property.


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    I don't disagree that the PRS can provide quality low cost housing.

    However, the article discusses 3 tenants with mental health issues, 2 with learning difficulties and 1 with a breathing disorder. Low cost housing is not their only need, and may not even be their main need. I was more focused on the part of the statement that says:

    "vulnerable individuals are better placed in social housing"

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