A Suffolk councillor has spoken out against targeting private landlords with tougher regulations when authorities face similar problems with their own housing stock.
Both Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils have agreed that civil penalties of up to £30,000 should be used to deter rogue landlords instead of prosecution for illegal but less serious cases of housing offences because they take less time and fewer resources.
However, councillor David Busby, Babergh’s cabinet member for finance, assets and investments, told colleagues that the move could seem “hypocritical” against the backdrop of problems with the council’s own social housing stock, according to Suffolk News.
Unsafe Last month, it was found some council house tenants across the authorities had been left in potentially unsafe conditions as just under 470 inspections and safety reports were missed.
The councils referred themselves to the regulator once they realised and began work to rectify the problems.
Busby (pictured) says the council needs to be careful about criticising private landlords too much if it hasn’t got its own house in order.
“But that shouldn’t stop us putting pressure on those private landlords who break the law,” he tells LandlordZONE.
Tough time “Landlords have had a tough time of it recently and the majority are trying to do a good job although there are always some that abuse their position – 90% of our effort should be put into dealing with the 10% who cause the most problems.”
Earlier this week, Haringey Council was criticised for not completing fire and electrical checks at thousands of its properties, despite handing a private landlord £2,500 for the same failing.
The Regulator of Social Housing found the authority had breached parts of the Home Standard, resulting in the potential for “serious detriment” to tenants.
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