The council for one of the wealthiest areas in the country says it will be “educating and advising letting agents” on a range of activities including “providing accurate descriptions of properties.”
Oxfordshire County Council says it is launching a new initiative which, in its words, will mean ”tenants will be better protected from poor quality housing and financial loss when renting a residential property.”
A statement from the Conservative-controlled authority says: “The council plans to increase its work in educating and advising landlords and letting agents of their legal requirements. This includes providing accurate descriptions of property, ensuring that consumers are fully informed about the availability of redress schemes and deposit protection schemes, as well as an imminent ban on unfair letting fees.”
It also says that, in tandem with a range of unspecified “partners”, the council will provide additional information on meeting property safety standards, including requirements of the Fire Safety Order.
Then it threatens: “For those rogue businesses who fail to meet standards through poor accommodation or rip off fees and deposits, the council’s Trading Standards team wants to take tough action. It is currently developing a practical process to implement formal action and civil penalty arrangements, where needed.”
The statement is accompanied by comments from councillor Judith Heathcoat who says: “Some landlords might not understand their legal requirements in ensuring they make premises safe for residents, and we hope we can work constructively with them. However, our Trading Standards team cannot tolerate exploitation of tenants by rogue landlords and letting agents. We will use all our powers to protect vulnerable residents.”