With more and more residents living in the private rented sector, Bury Labour has made it a priority for the Council to do all it can to protect tenants and drive up standards in private rented properties.
In recent years, there has been additional legislation introduced that is designed to strengthen consumer protection for tenants and tackle rogue landlords. This includes new laws requiring letting agents and managing agents to belong to a redress scheme, providing protection for tenants against retaliatory eviction, increasing civil penalties, extended rent repayment orders and Banning Orders for the most serious criminal landlords.
In addition, as of the 1st October 2018 it a mandatory requirement to licence all Housing of Multiple Occupancy with 5 or more tenants regardless of the number of storeys.
All these have been implemented to drive up standards within the Private rented sector.
Bury Council’s Private Sector Housing Team carry out inspections on privately rented properties to abate disrepair and make the property safe for the tenants. They have a statutory duty under the Housing Act 2004 to serve notice for serious disrepair but in addition to enforcement they act as a negotiator between Landlord and Tenant to bring the property up to a good standard.
The Council’s work involves more than just looking at the property, they also address tenant’s needs and make appropriate referrals to other services. The Council are a key partner in a multi-agency task group - tackling various issues which often provide a major route for the police to gather intelligence.
Recently, the Council successfully bid for £80,000 to tackle poor standards within the private rented sector, an area of Bury has been identified around Baguley Crescent that requires intensive intervention from the Private Sector Housing team, Police, Fire and Immigration enforcement. Other areas will also be targeted in the near future.
Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, Cabinet Member for Finance and Housing, commented on the work of the Council, saying: “We know that standards in the private rented sector are a growing concern for residents across the Borough, especially as the option of truly affordable housing is becoming harder and harder for so many people. As we continue to work hard towards increasing the number of affordable properties, we also want to make sure rented properties are of a high standards and tenants are protected.”