Gloucester council workers have been raiding rented properties that fall short of safety standards in an effort to tackle rogue landlords.
It is reported that 18 people were found to be living in a flat infested with rats and substandard washing facilities. Other properties were found to be in unhygienic and unsafe conditions, with poor fire protection in their kitchens.
Councillor Said Hansdot stated: "These landlords don't care about their tenants. This isn't good for the tenants' health.
"They are making money off other people's backs and costs will go up for the NHS and the council in clearing excess rubbish and paying housing benefits."
Landlords from Westgate, Moreland and the Barton and Tredworth wards have been prosecuted for failing to fulfil their duties. These duties fall under the Defective Premises Act 1972
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.
Earlier in 2016 Fenland District Council announced a proposed scheme to combat rogue landlords that would require property owners to demonstrate that they are effectively managing their properties to meet safety standards or, if not, would face a £20,000 fine if operating without a licence. Read the full blog here.
The issue of rogue landlords is a matter of health as much as it is about paying a high price for a faulty product, with more than 700,000 privately-rented homes falling short of safety standards in the UK.
Slater and Gordon principal lawyer, Michael Hardacre, commented: “Tenants are all too often getting a raw deal from landlords who flout the law and take advantage of their predicament. There are laws to prevent this, but local councils need the resources to ensure that they can enforce the law and protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords.”
Any landlord found to be neglecting their duties and renting unhygienic and dangerous properties may be the subject of an occupier’s liability compensation claim.
If you think that appliances installed by your landlord do not meet safety standards, of 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.