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Council probes over 200 complaints into lettings sector

A council in an area with one of the country’s largest private lettings sectors says it has launched investigations into more than 200 complaints about agents and landlords in the past 12 months.

Cambridge city council says the investigations range from illegal eviction to harassment, poor management practice and properties falling into disrepair.

Of the 204 complaints, some 21 cases involved formal notices being served under the Housing Act. Complaints relating to five properties resulted in prosecutions with fines and costs amounting to more than £43,000. 

One prosecution resulted in a landlord being deemed to be no longer fit and proper to hold a licence or be involved in the management of higher risk houses of multiple occupation.

Over the same period, the council licensed 51 HMOs to ensure that they met the minimum standard required and began the process of updating the property accreditation scheme which acts as an assurance that the property has been inspected and found safe and that the landlord is a fit and proper person.

The council also developed a training programme to help landlords meet their duties and responsibilities, to improve the private rented sector and encourage self-management.

  • Tom  Harrington

    Schemes like these, attempting to clean up the PRS can only be a good thing. We're all more than aware that the amount of renters are set to increase in the next five years, so the cleaning up of the industry is essential.

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    There has always been attempts to "clean-up" the lettings industry but most fail because there aren't enough people to use the legislation to go after those who just disregard it.

    Take the Consumer Rights Act 2015, whereby agents are obliged to "prominently display" their list of charges to landlords and tenants in their offices and on their website. Most of those I have come across haven't done this and some are not even aware of its existence.

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