Published January 9, 2020 at 10:06
Work to crack down on rogue landlords in Rossendale will continue after the Council was awarded more money to help tackle the issue.
The Council was successful in an initial bid for £18k in 2018 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
That money has been used in a multi-agency approach to clampdown on bad practices in the private rented sector, concentrating on making landlords comply with fire safety legislation and meet minimum privately rented standards.
Now a further £24k has been awarded to carry out further enforcement as well as provide training and information for landlords and tenants to ensure they both comply with the regulations and know their rights.
The project has focussed on the borough’s town centres, where accommodation is often above shops and restaurants. These premises are at increased fire risk due to the many gas and electrical appliances in use. Some of this accommodation is occupied by vulnerable people and has often been converted into multi- occupied property, sometimes without appropriate planning, building control or fire safety input.
The funding has also helped the Council to carry out multi agency visits with partners, including the Police and revenue protection officers from British Gas, to takeaways and restaurants in the Rossendale area to identify and rectify issues.
Council inspections have taken place at 40 premises and issues have been found with gas and electric meters at 12 premises – four of which were found to have serious and potentially very dangerous health and safety implications.
This resulted in prohibition notices being served which prevented electrical reconnections being made until the electrics had been made safe.
It is the legal responsibility of landlords and businesses to make sure they provide adequate housing standards in rented accommodation.
They are also required to have appropriate fire safety measures and detection in place and carry out regular maintenance checks and that gas checks are carried out by competent and qualified gas safe registered engineers and checks by competent electrical engineers.
Managers of properties in multiple occupations (HMOs) have additional responsibilities under the legislation and larger HMOs may require a licence from Environmental Health.
Councillor Steve Hughes, Portfolio Holder for Communities and Customers, said:
I am really pleased the Council have been awarded more money to carry on our successful, vital and important work to tackle rogue landlords in the borough. Tenants deserve a decent standard of living and this partnership work means that safety measures have been made and standards have been brought up.
It is the legal responsibility of landlords and businesses to make sure they meet all of these standards and landlords who knowingly rent out unsafe and substandard accommodation will be made to comply.
I look forward to the Government turning this short-term, competitive income stream into longer term, mainstream funding allowing the council to plan a programme of works which allows us to tackle the inherent accommodation issues across the borough.