A council says it is adopting a new approach to proactively tackling poor housing conditions in privately rented homes in one town by introducing spot checks.
North Somerset council says the initiative will be taken in Weston-super-Mare town centre following a review which discovered clusters of rented properties in poor condition in some areas of the town.
In a scheme it is calling ‘Rent With Confidence’, the council says it will undertake random inspections of privately rented homes.
“Where poor housing conditions are uncovered enforcement action will be taken against the landlord, which can include fixed penalty notices. Inspections of any other properties owned by the non-compliant landlord will automatically follow” it says.
In addition, letting agents and landlords are to receive “a wide range of information and education on the required minimum property standards, including fire precautions, security measures, adequate heating and damp and mould prevention.”
The deputy leader of North Somerset council, Elfan Ap Rees, says: “It’s clear Weston-super-Mare has a concentration of poor housing conditions. This is having a negative impact on tenants’ health and wellbeing, and also affects the area as a whole.
“We know many landlords provide privately rented housing of a very high quality, however some landlords do very little to maintain and improve their properties, which contributes to tenants living in extremely poor conditions.
“No one should be paying to live in damp, cold accommodation which lacks the most basic facilities. Landlords who do not yet provide the required standard of housing will be tackled under this innovative new approach.”
This initiative will operate alongside the extension of the mandatory HMO licensing scheme which comes into effect on October 1 this year and will see an estimated 300 properties requiring a licence across the North Somerset area.