SALFORD’S rogue landlords could soon be ordered to repay up to 12 months rent for breaking management regulations or putting their tenants’ safety at risk.
The landlord licensing scheme, which is being proposed in the Irwell Riverside and Kersal areas of Salford, will ensure landlords comply with basic safety measures or face a hefty fine or rent repayment order.
Under the scheme, landlords can be prosecuted for failing to carry out gas and electricity safety checks, maintaining the house in good condition or making sure proper fire detection systems are installed.
In extreme circumstances, the council will be able to introduce a management order which allows it take over management of the property for the duration of the tenancy.
Council bosses say they hope the scheme will help to tackle low demand in the area. It follows the successful introduction of the country’s first licensing area in Langworthy in 2007 and several more since.
Ben Dolan, Strategic Director for Environment and Community Safety, said: “This is the seventh such scheme proposed for the city and the previous ones have been very successful.
“It’s about working with landlords to drive up the quality of private rented housing on offer and tackling those who don’t comply to protect tenants.”
John Wooderson, Local Government Officer at Salford City Council, said: “The private rented sector is predominantly run by decent people who are just trying to run a business.
“However, there are a number of disreputable, irresponsible, rogue landlords and we accept that in some areas it can cause a problem.”
[pullquote]“It’s about working with landlords to drive up the quality of private rented housing on offer and tackling those who don’t comply to protect tenants.” – Ben Dolan, Strategic Director for Environment and Community Safety. [/pullquote]
John Ryan, Service Manager for the housing charity Shelter Manchester, says that these schemes have proved effective in the past: “With the chronic lack of affordable homes forcing more people into private renting, it’s essential that every effort is made to stamp out the minority of rogue landlords who knowingly shirk their responsibilities.
“At Shelter Manchester we hear from renters every day whose lives are being made a misery by appalling conditions and law-breaking landlords.
“So it’s good to see councils like Salford taking action in their area through selective landlord licensing. Licensing can be a useful way to raise standards and clamp-down on rogues.”
Jessica Burns, 28, from Salford, said: “In my case I think it’s a great idea; I’ve had nothing but trouble from my landlord.
“He never does anything and I have to have a go at him for ages until he does. I can’t afford to move so I am stuck in a house full of mould and damp with a three-year old, and I’m pregnant as well.”
You can have your say on the scheme at the council’s website here.