Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Inspections of private landlords are failing - by Keith Cooper - Inside Housing

Rate Your Landlord

Councils are failing to pinpoint dangerous, damp and overcrowded private rented homes, research by a leading environmental health officer has discovered.

The study by Dr Stephen Battersby, president of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, has indicated that many councils lack a systematic approach to inspecting private rental properties.

Figures from 221 councils, obtained from freedom of information requests, suggest that fewer than 10 per cent of privately rented homes that would receive the most severe ‘category one’ hazard are dealt with each year.

‘Without changes in approach, the rate at which hazardous dwellings are dealt with is also unlikely to increase given the cuts happening in local government,’ the report added.

The study found councils were failing to pinpoint properties in the worst condition or the most irresponsible landlords.

Dr Battersby said: ‘The worst landlords are escaping because local authorities don’t have any real strategy to regulate conditions in the private rented sector.’

The research was commissioned by Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Karen Buck and shadow housing minister Alison Seabeck.

Brandon Taylor, a member of the Eastern Landlords’ Association, said his council - Waveney - inspected properties in a street when it received a complaint about one of them. ‘They do the rating in the whole area rather than single one landlord out.’

A spokesperson for the Communities and Local Government department, said: ‘The private rented sector is already governed by a well-established legal framework.’

by Keith Cooper - Inside Housing - 08 July 2011

Debbie Mann: As an owner of a property inspection business I come across many properties which are in poor condition and the tenants just accept this as ok. The worst hit group, in my opinion, are those who have immigrated to the UK and are less than familiar with our rules and regulations so therefore unaware that a gas safety check must be completed let alone safe electrics and all the other hazards that they may be faced with.

I would also point out that many 'rogue' landlords are not really rogue just ignorant to their responsibility as a landlord and simply need educating. Many seem to think that as long as the rent is paid no further action is required!

A number of councils hold annual or bi-annual meetings targetted at private landlords to give them the information they need on changing legislation so it is worth checking your local area

Debbie - Independent Property Inspections
West London Solicitors: Its true a lot of landlords are getting away with letting sub-standard properties and without councils getting involved, prospective tenants will just have to build their opinion on a landlord through previous tenants. I think this the only effective way for them to be exposed and to prevent other tentants from dealing with so called 'landlords from hell'.

The council can monitor websites whereby landlords have received bad reviews and check properties themselves, this would then help stop landlords from letting out these sub-standard properties.