Hazards found during crackdown on rogue landlords

The housing standards team have been carrying out inspections in the town centre.

The housing standards team have been carrying out inspections in the town centre. - Credit: Archant

Damp and mould are the main hazards discovered in rented properties across North Somerset.

North Somerset Council launched a scheme last year to crack down on rogue landlords and improve poor quality housing in the private rented sector.

Landlords are encouraged to sign up to the Landlord Accreditation Scheme operated by the National Landlords Code of Excellence (NLCE).

More: Council cracks down on rogue landlords.

Those who are not accredited can expect to have their properties inspected by the council’s private rented housing team.

Kathryn, a senior housing standards officer, said: “Many landlords provide housing that’s of good quality, but there are those who do little to maintain their properties or respond to concerns and problems reported by their tenants.

“No one should have to live in an unsafe, cold property or one that’s in a state of disrepair.”

The tenant and the landlord are notified before an inspection, and the housing team takes photographs of the accommodation and record potential hazards.

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During a recent inspection, Kathryn catalogued a number of issues including damp walls, very cold rooms, no hot water and a lack of smoke alarms.

A power socket could not be used as it was on a damp wall and sparked when an appliance was plugged in and the broken cooker had not been replaced.

Kathryn said: “The most common category one hazards we see are excess cold and damp, and mould.”

If category one hazards are found, an improvement notice will be served on the landlord.

This alerts them to the hazards, the causes, what needs to be done to fix them and gives a date when the work must be completed.

Landlords have one month to appeal, but failure to comply with the terms of an improvement notice is a criminal offence which can result in prosecution or a fine of up to £30,000.

Cllr Don Davies, leader of North Somerset Council, said: “We won’t tolerate rogue landlords who provide poor quality accommodation and we would urge anyone with any information or any concerns to report a landlord now.

“Anyone can report concerns about a rogue landlord, letting agent or a rented property to us at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/roguelandlord.”