Council launches initiative to crack down on Weston's rogue landlords
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 March 2019
Rogue landlords who force people to live in 'hazardous' conditions face hefty fines and prison sentences in a council's bid to tackle poor housing in Weston.
North Somerset Council has launched a scheme which will see thousands of privately rented homes inspected in areas of the town next month.
People offering accommodation to tenants who are not accredited by the National Landlord’s Code of Excellence (NLCE) are being targeted, and the authority can impose fines of up to £30,000 to those who fail to comply with its enforcement action.
The council estimates there are ‘several hundred’ rogue landlords in Weston and the scheme has been driven by North Somerset after it received funding from central Government earlier this year to tackle the issue.
The authority’s executive member for housing, councillor Elfan Ap Rees, said: “No-one should have to pay to live in a property which is unsafe or in a state of disrepair.
“Many landlords provide quality rental accommodation, but there are some who do little to maintain their homes.
“Accreditation means landlords are meeting legal obligations to provide safe rental accommodation to their tenants.
“Poor quality housing not only impacts their health and wellbeing, but it affects the wider community as well.
“Our message to landlords is clear – make sure the accommodation provided is of good quality and join an accreditation scheme like NLCE.”
NLCE was formed in 2016 to help landlords and tenants work together when issues arise in privately rented homes.
Director of the NLCE, Sam Jackson, said: “Training and education is the cornerstone of any profession, and being a landlord is a profession and not a hobby.
“Rent repayment orders, fines and even a prison sentence can await landlords who are not willing to up their game.
“With more than 150 new laws and 400 pieces of regulation put through on housing in the last 10 years, even the most experienced landlords have something to learn.”
North Somerset’s MAVISbus is visiting Weston’s Big Lamp Corner, in Regent Street, from 10.30am-2.30pm today (Thursday).
For more information on the scheme, visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk