NOTTINGHAM CITY COUNCIL CLAMPS DOWN ON 'DANGEROUS' OR 'POOR' RENTED PROPERTIES
Writing on Sunday 2 May 2021, Matt Jarram, Senior Digital Reporter & Crime Correspondent of the Nottingham Post, reported that Nottingham City Council has sent out more than 3,000 letters and legal notices, including 61 formal written warnings to landlords who are failing to provide decent homes in the city.
Hundreds of rented homes in 'dangerous' or 'poor' conditions across Nottingham
This is what Nottingham City Council has done about the problem during the pandemic
Nottingham City Council says it has clamped down on hundreds of landlords renting out 'dangerous' or 'poor' homes to tenants during the pandemic.
More than 3,000 letters and legal notices have been handed out, including 61 formal written warnings to those who have failed to provide decent homes in the city.
One of the latest cases to go to court was in January 2021, where a landlord was fined for failing to improve his rental property in Hyson Green and Arboretum.
He left his tenants living in 'dangerous conditions', including dangerous stairs, structural collapse, excessive cold, damp, mould and fire hazards.
There was also issues with food safety and sanitation and drainage.
The council said it had received more than 2,000 requests for help by tenants living in the private housing sector in the last year.
Following the council's intervention, improvements were carried out at 221 properties, over 3,033 letters and legal notices have been sent to landlords and 61 formal written warnings were issued between April 2020 and March 2021.
However, some of the most extreme cases do get taken to court for prosecution.
Over the last year, the team have also carried out the below enforcement action:
- 5 properties had emergency works completed to make them safe or where emergency works could not be done the property was shut down
- 18 properties were served with improvement notices asking for works to be done to reduce or remove hazards such as no smoke alarms
- 31 notices were served to deal with nuisance issues or health risks such as lack of hot water
- Emergency measures were taken to deal with one dangerous building.
- 11 notices were served to deal with public health issues such as blocked drains
- 4 notices were served to deal with pests or to deal with lots of rubbish that may attract pests
The council said that many of these relate to landlords failing to apply for a Selective, Mandatory or Additional Housing Licence.
Under these licences, there are conditions that must be met to make sure a property is up to standard.
Some of the 'Category 1' hazards the team has found include fire hazards, such as no smoke alarms, exposed wiring or faulty sockets, filthy and vermin riddled homes, faulty boilers, cold bedrooms, leaking roofs and mould.
In one case, the team served an Emergency Prohibition Order (EPO) at a property in Sherwood due to an unsafe spiral staircase, which meant there was no safe means of escape in a fire. The kitchen was also in a poor condition.
The EPO prevented anyone from living at the flat until works had been completed, including the replacement of the staircase and separation between the kitchen and the front door to create a safe escape route.
After certain successful prosecutions, the council can apply for Rent Repayment Orders. This is to get back Housing Benefits payments that were made to landlords renting out properties without a licence.
In November 2020, a landlord was ordered to pay back £8,592.98 in benefits they weren’t entitled to.
In January of this year, another landlord was ordered to pay £5,644.98 for the same offence.
Councillor Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage, said: "We know that most landlords in the city are decent landlords and want to rent out properties at a good standard.
"However, there are still properties that lag behind and have serious safety issues that need to be addressed.
"The council’s housing licensing schemes are there to help maintain or improve property standards, and as the action we’ve taken throughout the pandemic shows, we are helping to do just that.
"We will take action against those landlords who do not improve their homes or fail to work with us to make sure their property is licensed.
"Every tenant deserves to live in a clean and safe home and leaseholders shouldn’t have to foot the bill for the costs of basic safety works.
"We will continue to work with landlords to help them physically improve their properties, but also to make them more aware of their legal obligations as landlords and ensure they comply with certain licence conditions."