One of Tees Valley’s mayoral candidates has vowed to fight the upcoming election by promising a clampdown on rogue landlords.
Labour’s Jessie Joe Jacobs wants to introduce selective licensing across more of the north-east authority to tackle rogue landlords and raise standards in problem areas.
While there are already schemes in parts of Middlesbrough, Jacobs wants to introduce them across a broader area of Tees Valley to stop problem landlords moving into areas which currently don’t have schemes.
“We have homes that are boarded up but people are still living in them,” she says. “They have issues with no heating – those landlords are not taking responsibility.”
Jacobs fears the financial and personal problems caused during the pandemic will create a new homelessness crisis when landlords are able to claim unpaid rents.
She says: “We’ve heard stories of rental properties left for months with no heating or hot water…that can’t be right. The impact is not only on the individuals either, it affects the wider community, dragging neighbourhoods down, creating no go areas, and making local residents feel unsafe.”
Local leadership working closely with housing providers, ethical investors and agencies can begin to resolve this problem, says Jacobs, who adds: “We need to take action now to prevent this growing into another crisis.
“When housing situations worsen, people are either left homeless or find themselves in the hands of dodgy landlords with substandard property.”
The election, originally due to take place in May 2020, was postponed until 6th May 2021 due to the pandemic, and will see incumbent Conservative mayor Ben Houchen seeking re-election.