Thousands of private rented homes in just one city are maintained in such a poor state that the health and sometimes lives of tenants at risk, according to a survey.
Research in Norwich, Norfolk, revealed one in five private rented homes expose tenants to a ‘category one’ risk like damp, mould, cold trip hazards and fire safety risks.
The city has 14,398 private rented properties, including 3,114 shared homes. Around 25% of shared homes in multiple occupation (HMOs) have at least one category 1 hazard.
As a result of the study, Norwich City Council wants to introduce a licensing and accreditation scheme for landlords to improve standards for tenants.
The proposal was unanimously passed at a recent meeting of the city council.
Mike Stonard, cabinet member for environment, development and transport, who brought the motion, explained licensing would set standards and give landlords an incentive to manage their properties better.
“About 22% of householders in the city rent from private landlords, which is one of the highest percentages in the east of England, and that’s doubled over the past 10 years,” said Stonard.
“Part of the reason is the growth in the city’s student population, but much of it is because people are being priced out of private home ownership, which means people who would like to buy cannot afford to do so.
“Another factor is in the fall in the number of sites with planning permission coming forward, which has resulted in a reduced supply of new homes.”
Mr Stonard said the city council, which rents 15,500 homes to council tenants, had an “exemplary” record as a landlord, but that not all private landlords could say the same.
Meanwhile, homeowners in Bath are complaining the price of their properties has dropped by around 10% since an article 4 declaration to manage numbers of shared rented homes in the city was introduced.
One homeowner reportedly cannot sell his property because the street is already packed with students living in shared houses and the Bath & North East Somerset Council will not give him permission to convert the home to a shared house