LETTING & ESTATE AGENT

300 rental hazards found in Teignbridge

300 rental hazards found in Teignbridge

More than 300 hazards, which posed a risk to health and safety, were found in rented properties in Teignbridge, Devon, during a three-year investigation.

Teignbridge Council worked with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to inspect rented homes, especially HMOs. The council is backing Shelter's Evict Rogue Landlords campaign which focuses on getting tough with the minority of landlords who rent out sub-standard and unsafe properties.

The council says that with a shortage of affordable rental accommodation in Teignbridge, vulnerable tenants may feel they have no alternative but to accept poor quality housing.

Cllr Philip Vogel, Teignbridge District Council's executive spokesman for housing and planning, said: "While we have many good landlords in our area, we also know that there is a small but dangerous minority who trap people in homes which cause misery and, in some cases, put lives at risk.

"Tenants who rent privately are entitled to live in a place that is safe and free from hazards. There's a lot of demand for rented housing in Teignbridge and that means some people could be vulnerable to accepting a roof over their heads that falls short of expectations. In some cases, they may not know who to turn to for help.

"Those people need to know Teignbridge is on their side and if warnings are not heeded landlords can face prosecution. 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 Teignbridge 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."

Teignbridge Council says it has good relationships with the vast majority of landlords who are “responsible, fair and take their duties seriously”. The council’s housing team offers lots of advice and assistance to those who rent out properties so they can provide homes that are safe places to live. Examples include:

• Landlord training open days and accreditation schemes.
• Proactively inspecting privately rented properties to make sure that they are appropriate homes for renters
• Prosecutions against landlords who have broken the law or ignored their responsibilities.

Under the Housing Act 2004, landlords need to ensure properties provided for accommodation is free from any risk of harm to the health and safety of an actual or potential occupier of a dwelling. This involves tackling things like heating problems, dangerous electrics and unsafe staircases. The Act allows local authorities to take enforcement action if this is not being done.