Over 1,350 residents in the Bay have had their living conditions improved since the start of the Rogue Landlords programme.
The Rogue Landlord programme, which started in 2012, came about following a £100,000 cash injection approved by the Mayor ofTorbay. It targets landlords providing poor standards of accommodation, not effectively managing their properties or acting outside the law. The programme also takes positive action to support good landlords and promote good practice.
Checks and operations are carried out by a range of organisations including Torbay Council, Police, Fire and Rescue Service and the Home Office Immigration Service.
Since the Rogue Landlords programme started:
* 231 enforcement notices have been served
* 2,095 hazards were identified in 590 properties, which belong to 366 Landlords
* 1,357 Torbay residents have been protected from a range of hazards, including damp, excess cold, possible falls and fire
* 82 prohibition orders were served, which prohibited the use of 106 dwellings until standards improved
* 8 prosecutions have taken place
* And 1 landlord has been ordered to pay £6,570 through a civil penalty
Mayor Gordon Oliver said: “I authorised the initial funding for this programme as I am fully aware of the strength of feeling about the minority of bad landlords who are giving the majority of good landlords a bad name. The progress being made in the Rogue Landlord programme speaks for itself and we will continue to identify and address landlords who are falling well short of the standards that are expected of them.
“We are grateful to those landlords who are providing a good service for their tenants, but we are committed to taking whatever action is necessary in order to ensure that they all comply with their responsibilities under housing legislation.
“Our work is being undertaken with our partners and this approach is helping us to tackle the range of problems that poorly managed properties cause for their neighbours.”
When properties are visited, it isn’t only the status and physical conditions which are improved but also a wide range of other areas are looked at. These include building regulation control; criminal activity; immigration intelligence streams are built; fire safety improvements are achieved; the Revenues & Benefits claims and/or charges are reviewed and referrals are made to HMRC.
These interventions over the last five years have also saved the NHS £336,591.00 and society as a whole £4,425,726.00.
Mark Cottell, Community Safety Manager at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: “We value the partnership working arrangements with the Torbay Housing Standards Team. The benefits to sharing intelligence help ensure our resources are targeted effectively raising standards with our vulnerable population and in areas of high deprivation. We are committed to our prevention and protection service delivery so that the community we serve are safer in their homes and places of work. This partnership has resulted in high profile prosecutions, delivering a robust message and highlighting consistent enforcement where required.”
Torbay’s Community Safety Sergeant Brian Guntrip from Devon and Cornwall Police said: “We are committed to working in partnership with our colleagues from the Housing Standards Team within the Community Safety Partnership. We work closely as one team, sharing intelligence and information with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable in our community and preventing and detecting harm.
“Over the past twelve months Police and Housing Standards have conducted numerous housing inspections and search warrants following concerns raised by the community. Joint operations have seen a significant quantity of drugs removed from the streets of Torbay and properties closed down.
“Whilst the vast majority of landlords provide an exceptional service, we actively encourage tenants to report any incidents of threatening, abusive or intimidating behaviour so that a joined up approach can be taken to resolving the problem.”
In addition to the continued Rogue Landlord action, in 2019 and beyond the Housing Standards team will be giving particular focus to the licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO’s). By utilising new regulations to ensure that these properties which house a greater number of usually vulnerable individuals are well managed and fully compliant with the law. Landlords and tenants should take the opportunity to learn more about their rights and responsibilities and these can be found on the council’s website: www.torbay.gov.uk/housing/advice-for-landlords/hmo
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