Tackling rundown rented properties in Weston
By Carol_Deacon | Thursday, March 07, 2013, 10:25
Tough new rules to make landlords keep their rented properties in tip-top condition in Weston-super-Mare are being considered by North Somerset Council.
Weston isn't the only town in the UK with rundown areas - this is Belfast
North Somerset Council deputy leader and executive member whose portfolio includes housing Elfan Ap Rees said a survey of central Weston revealed poorly managed accomodation which was impacting on the whole area.
The Conservative councillor for the Hutton and Locking ward said: "Some landlords do almost nothing to maintain and improve their properties causing tenants to live in poor conditions.
"This results in little or no pride in the neighbourhood resulting in a downward trend for the community.
"We have listened to the local concerns and want to tackle this issue by ensuring that landlords have a duty to look after their properties and cater for the basic accomodation needs of their tenants.
"We already have to collect rubbish from some properties on a daily basis but need to do more to improve the living conditions and reduce the burden for council tax payers.
"Good landlords will no doubt be supportive of this scheme but rogue landlords may be facing a serious wake-up call as no-one should be paying to live in poorly-managed damp, cold and dingy accomodation."
The area affected is between the Boulevard and Locking Road and runs between Ashcombe Road to the east and Silica to the west.
Roads in the area include Baker Street, Alfred Street and Jubilee Street.The move follows complaints from tenants, other residents and businesses in the area.
It would mean landlords who fail to maintain and upgrade their properties in a part of central ward would be subject to a licencing scheme and have to comply with certain standards.
Nine larger houses deemed HMOs (homes in multiple occupation) in the zone are already licensed and will be excluded from the scheme.
The council is now consulting with all those living and working in the area to get their views on the proposed scheme.
The regulations would force landlords to bring their HMOs up to an acceptable standard.
This would include fire precautions, security measures, adequate heating and damp and mould prevention.
An HMO can consist of either properties sub divided into flats that are mainly tenanted, properties with self contained bed sits, or homes that share kitchen and bathroom facilities but have private bedrooms.
The proposed scheme is the result of a survey of private housing conditions which was carried out between November 2012 and January 2013 by council staff supported by Weston College students.
The survey, which was completed by 223 of the 679 properties approached, showed that more than 45 per cent of those responding felt that the large number of rented properties was having a negative impact on the area.
The majority of those responding felt that litter and rubbish and drug or alcohol abuse were a particular issue in their area.
More than 44 per cent of respondents living in an HMO also had concerns over the condition of their home. Issues raised included poor lighting, lack of heating, disrepair and dampness.
And more than 35 per cent of tenants had not received a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate and some had not had sight of the Energy Performance Certificate.
Both of these are mandatory requirements.
Consultation for the proposed regulations is expected to begin next week and last for 10 weeks.