Extra policy proposed to improve standards in private rental housing market

Councillors will discuss the introduction of a supplementary policy designed to improve housing standards for residents living in private rented accommodation.

View from top of stations into a bathroom and bedroom

Following the refresh of the council’s overarching enforcement policy in 2021, this additional private rented sector housing enforcement policy was drafted following a public consultation showing support for the scheme.

Now councillors will discuss it at cabinet on 12 January 2023 (item 18), and if introduced it will give the council greater powers to make sure health and safety standards are followed, with the ability to give fines of up to £30,000 for those landlords who don’t comply.

This particularly applies to category two hazards, as well as electrical safety standards and carbon monoxide alarm regulations.

Cllr Ian Gilbert, cabinet member for economic recovery, regeneration and housing, said: “The report states how the private rented sector is growing steadily, and it is an important sector within Southend for providing housing, but we also have a duty to ensure those homes are up to a decent standard.

“Let’s not forget most landlords are decent, responsible and take care of the homes they own. This policy is aimed to tackle the minority who allow their properties to fall below certain standards.”

Cllr Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety, said: “It has been clear for some time that we need to do something to regulate the standards within the private housing sector.

“And by better regulating the sector, the impact should have a ripple effect, with landlords improving their housing quality, reducing their bills and increasing the value of the house and their investment, a boost to the local economy with the employment of local tradespeople and improved neighbourhoods. I look forward to discussing this with my colleagues in the cabinet.”

You can read the draft report in full on the council’s website.

Published: 6th January 2023

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