Explosions, asbestos and carbon monoxide... Weston-super-Mare town centre has ‘worst housing conditions’ in North Somerset
PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 December 2017
Explosions, carbon monoxide, asbestos, and mould are just some of the hazards endured by residents of Weston-super-Mare’s poor-quality rented housing, a damning report has revealed.
Weston town centre is home to ‘the worst housing conditions’ in the district, with old-build housing and ‘rogue landlords’ who rent out sub-standard properties to blame.
The local authority is set to take action, focussing its efforts on areas of poor housing quality.
The findings are revealed in the council’s Review of Housing Conditions report, which was published this month.
The poorest conditions were found in rented homes pre-dating 1919, of which there is a high concentration in the town centre.
The report reveals hundreds of tenants complained to the council about their landlords or homes in 2016, with the vast majority coming from people living in central Weston.
The most common complaint related to damp and mould, while fire, electrical hazards and hygiene also prompted several complaints.
Almost one in six of the 281 complained-about homes would not be able to be rented out in future because of poor energy efficiency ratings, while 76 homes did not hold an energy performance certificate at all.
The report added there is a large number of houses in multiple occupation which are ‘likely to be in a poor condition or have ineffective management practices and are located primarily in Weston town centre’.
In response to the findings, the council has proposed tackling rogue landlords and poor-quality homes by creating an ‘action area’ – made up of Weston’s Central, Hillside, Uphill, and South wards – where resources will be focused to improve standards.
Central ward councillor Richard Nightingale told the Mercury ‘clearly the current situation is unacceptable and we need to encourage or force change immediately’.
He said: “Nearly half of the people who live in Central ward live in private rented accommodation, which is very different to the North Somerset average.
“The council has less control over the building quality of this accommodation. Almost three quarters of housing applicants living in Weston town centre report poor housing conditions.
“During council licensing and inspection of rented and non-rented houses in multiple occupancy in Central ward, 71 per cent of properties inspected were non-decent, 45 per cent of properties had serious issues.
“The most common concerns were excess damp and mould. Five per cent of households in Central ward don’t even have central heating.”
The council’s executive has voted to open a consultation on the findings of the report before finalising its strategy to deal with Weston’s housing woes.