Bradford has been identified as real hotspot for rogue private housing landlords whose properties with living conditions that blight tenants’ lives.
According to recent report by the Bradford Telegraph and Argus Bradford has been invited to bid for central government funding to tackle some of the worst housing condition in private rented stock in the country in what is said to be a rogue landlords’ hotspot.
The government recently announced a scheme where it will release funds to those authorities willing to bid for monies from a pot designated to tackle unsafe housing conditions in rental properties in their boroughs through a crackdown with random inspections.
Bradford Council has now submitted a bid to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to allow it extend its recent purge on the worst-affected properties. Some of the worst identified are flats above shops and particularly above businesses such as takeaways.
During 2014/15, Bradford Council it received 1,262 complaints from tenants renting above shops resulting in more than 650 enforcement notices being served.
The City’s housing officers from the Housing Standards team has pursued just nine successful prosecutions against landlords for housing-related offences, out of a total of 54 prosecutions brought since 2010/11.
Bradford City Council is one out of 65 local authorities that’s been invited to apply for a share of £5 million of funding by the Department of Communities and Local Government. Bradford has recorded just under 600 complaints in the first half of 2015, many relating to breaches in fire safety regulations.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:
“The private rental sector is still afflicted by too many rogues – who rent dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties without a thought for the welfare of their tenants.
“That’s why we invited the worst affected councils to come forward and apply for extra funding, so they can root out the cowboys and rogue operators.
“The Government is determined to crack down on rogue landlords and this funding, alongside measures in the Housing and Planning Bill, will further strengthen councils’ powers to tackle poor-quality privately rented homes in their area.”
Councillor Val Slater, the council’s portfolio holder for housing, said of the funding bid:
“If we can get any extra help to make people safer in their homes, obviously we will do that.
“We do take poor standards in housing seriously, and we will tackle them where we have the resources to do it.
“We still visit properties where, if you can believe it, they don’t have smoke detectors.
“It seems a no-brainer, as it is such a simple thing to address.
“There may be some landlords that live in a little bubble somewhere, and we have to get the message across to them.”
The crackdown to date has focused on the Leeds Road area of Bradford, but the Council says, if the additional funding is secured, inspections will be rolled out to target flats above shops across more of the main routes in and out of the city, in areas such as Manchester Road and Great Horton Road.
The council has said that any private landlord found to be flouting the new Some and Carbon Monoxide regulations, introduced 1st October 2015, will receive a remedial notice giving them 28 days to rectify the problem, which if ignored, could lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000.
The West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service (WYFRS) has written to letting agents across Bradford to them and landlords that they can have smoke detectors installed for free of charge by the service.
Chris Kemp, fire protection manager for WYFRS, told Bradford Telegraph and Argus:
“Following the recent introduction of the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations, we have been working with private sector landlords and letting agents to assist them in complying with the new regulations.
“This has involved the distribution of approximately 15,000 free smoke detectors into private rented accommodation across the county, and we are continuing to work with local authorities to assist them in prioritising properties which present the greatest risk.
“We urge landlords to take their responsibilities seriously.”
Bradford: A Rogue Landlords' Hotspot – https://t.co/kbAEEEVmFX
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) December 8, 2015