Almost half of private rented properties visited during a crackdown against problem landlords were found to be falling below acceptable standards.
So far 215 private rented properties have been visited in 22 of the borough’s streets as part of an ongoing operation by North East Lincolnshire Council and its partner ENGIE with support from Humberside Fire and Rescue.
The visits have led to a total of 102 enforcement actions including two properties that had to be served prohibition notices and shut down. There were also 12 notices served under housing and planning legislation and an unlicensed house of multiple occupation (HMO) was found.
Hazards discovered include:
- Damp and condensation
- No mechanical ventilation
- Doors missing or insecure
- Poor fitting windows
- Trip hazards such as broken up footpaths
- Missing or faulty smoke detectors
- No means of escape from fire
- Damaged gas meter boxes
- Poorly fitted kitchens
- Unsafe garden walls
- Gutters full and overflowing
Cllr Terry Walker, portfolio holder responsible for housing enforcement, said the majority of hazards discovered could be put right through regular maintenance and repairs.
He added: “Officers have uncovered all sorts of problems during these visits, with excessive damp and condensation among the most common.
“In some of the worst premises, tenants, some of them vulnerable and too scared to speak out, have been found living in poor living conditions without heating or hot water.”
“We know most landlords stick to the rules and take care of their properties, but there’s a minority that aren’t and are either unaware of their responsibilities or refuse to acknowledge them.”
Advice on the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords is available on the Council’s website by visiting www.nelincs.gov.uk/housing.
The Council and its partner ENGIE are calling on the public to report suspicions about privately rented properties in the borough.
Problems people are asked to look out for include the following:
- Overcrowding in private rented properties
- Unsafe accommodation over commercial premises, such as flats with no fire escapes above takeaways
- Unlicensed houses of multiple occupation (properties that have been divided up into bedsits without permission)
- Landlords illegally evicting their tenants.
To report concerns please call 01472 324777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All reports will be handled sensitively and in the strictest confidence.
Cllr Walker added: “Unfortunately, tenants can sometimes be too scared to report such problems for fear of losing their homes, which is why we’re calling on the community for help.
“Poor quality housing has all sorts of repercussions, not just on the quality of life of tenants, but also neighbouring properties and the wider community."
The appeal comes after the Council was successful in bidding for a grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government to help tackle rogue landlords.
The grant, which amounts to £64,250, will be used by the council to fund a range of measures aimed at confronting landlords who do not comply with regulations.
The funding will also help improve the information and support available to help tenants experiencing problems with their rented home.