A potential new licensing scheme by Fenland District Council could see an end to rogue landlords making money from renting out properties that fail to meet basic safety standards.
The scheme would apply to seven wards and the owners of 2,400 rented properties in Wisbech. Owners would be required to demonstrate that they effectively managing their properties to meet safety standards and, if not, would face a £20,000 fine if operating without a licence.
The five-year licence costs landlords £575 for single households and £750 for multiple occupancy housing, with the aim of revealing rogue landlords. Further to this, it is believed the scheme could potentially tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, with the police naming it an “important preventative tool.”
Councillor, Will Sutton, said: “All tenants deserve to live in safe, well managed and properly maintained properties.
“Selective licensing would help protect them, but it would also benefit the whole town.
“This is a major issue, so this proposed consultation is very important. We want to hear the views of as many people as possible – landlords, tenants and the wider community.”
Should the scheme succeed in seeing that private renters are living in safer housing, its implementation across the country would be welcomed by the many households suffering the same across England. Until then, landlords renting substandard properties without tested carbon monoxide and smoke alarms, fitted with faulty products and unacceptable conditions could be liable to face an occupier’s liability compensation claim.
The Defective Premises Act 1972 means that a landlord has a duty of care to repair a premises as follows:
4. (1) Where premises are let under a tenancy which puts on the landlord an obligation to the tenant for the maintenance or repair of the premises, the landlord owes to all persons who might reasonably be expected to be affected by defects in the state of the premises a duty to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances to see that they are reasonably safe from personal injury or from damage to their property caused by a relevant defect.
(2) The said duty is owed if the landlord knows (whether as the result of being notified by the tenant or otherwise) or if he ought in all the circumstances to have known of the relevant defect.
The subject of rogue landlords is increasingly being brought to the public’s attention, as we’ve recently blogged about, with more than 700,000 privately rented homes failing safety standards in England. Unacceptable living conditions currently affect more than 100,000 households in England that are paying over £900 in rent each month. It is estimated that £4.2 billion is spent every year on privately rented unsafe housing.
For more information, and to check if you might be paying a high price for a faulty product, see Rogue Landlords: Does Your Home Meet Safety Standards?
Michael Hardacre is a senior personal injury solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
If you have been injured by a faulty appliance in your property or as a result of your landlord’s negligence, call Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9083 or contact us online and we will call you.