Council to support campaign to tackle rogue landlords

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Horsham District Council is adding its support to Shelter’s national campaign to tackle rogue landlords.

The housing and homelessness charity is calling on local authorities across the country to take a tough stance against rogue landlords operating in their area.

By signing up to the campaign, HDC is committing to use all the tools at its disposal to crack down on landlords who are ignoring their responsibilities and causing misery to local families.

There is information on the council’s website to help landlords and tenants to understand their rights and obligations, including contact details for advice.

Although the standard of landlords in the Horsham district is generally good, the council occasionally receives complaints from tenants in this respect and where this happens the council will investigate to establish if the property is unhealthy or unsafe.

If the council finds that a property is falling short of the necessary standards, it will require the landlord to take action to address the identified issues and, in most circumstances, the required action is achieved through a simple dialogue with the landlord, including advice on what needs to be improved.

However where a landlord is unwilling to make the necessary improvements, the council will take enforcement action. Thankfully, it has only been necessary to serve enforcement orders on five landlords whose properties have fallen short of the required standard in the last three years.

In the last two years, the council has used government funding to employ its own private sector lettings officer who sources landlords and properties for rent through the council and also acts as a vetting agent.

The council has a strict minimum standard that landlords must follow and if properties do not meet this standard then the council works with the landlord to bring the property up to the acceptable standard.

The council provides advice for prospective landlords on its website and opportunities for landlords who may wish to let their property through the council.

The council also helps to fund the Citizens Advice Bureau. If a tenant requires further advice to resolve an issue with their landlord this funding helps ensure that there is a neutral partner who can assist.

Sue Rogers (Con, Steyning), HDC cabinet member for a safer and healthier district, said: “While we have many good landlords in our area, we also know that there is a small but dangerous minority of landlords who trap people in homes which cause misery and, in some cases, put lives at risk.

“We must stamp out rogue landlords in the Horsham District, and by joining Shelter’s Evict Rogue Landlords Campaign, we are committing to take tough action against the worst offenders.”

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “We are pleased to hear that Horsham District Council is committing to firm action against rogue landlords operating in their area.

“Every day at Shelter we see the devastating impact rogue landlords have on people’s lives, and we’ve been campaigning to urge government and councils to crack down on this small but highly dangerous minority who make people’s lives a misery.

“We urge other councils to follow Horsham District Council’s lead and do everything in their power to crack down on the worst offenders in their area and stamp out rogue landlords for good.”

For more information on Shelter’s Evict Rogue Landlords campaign or to ask your local council to take action against rogue landlords please visit their website.