Following successful prosecutions of rogue landlords in Easton1, Green councillors are calling for the Mayor to extend the landlord licencing scheme. The call comes ahead of a public meeting2 the Mayor will be holding on housing on 7th September.
Green Councillor Carla Denyer who represents Clifton Down said:
“We want the council to extend landlord licencing to make sure landlords provide minimum standards in other problem areas of the city.”
“People may think of Clifton Down as a privileged area, but behind the grand front doors there are many untold stories of damp, mould and dangerous living conditions. I have met people who pay extortionate rent, yet have daily battles to get their landlord to fix a broken toilet or mend a leaking roof.”
“The Stapleton Road licencing scheme3 has successfully improved 700 private rented properties and resolved 199 serious hazards, by cracking down on rogue landlords. We are now calling on the Mayor to look at extending the scheme to other areas of the city, following consultation with local communities.”
Cracking down on landlords who do not provide basic standards is particularly important for students who rent across the city. Stephen Le Fanu, Student Living Officer at Bristol Students Union and member of ACORN student group at Bristol University said:
"Our recent student housing survey showed that both University of Bristol and University of West of England students are frequently having to live in poor conditions and are charged rip-off fees. This is simply not acceptable. We have formed a group of students from across the city to tackle together some of the problems that students are individually facing and want to invite all those interested to get involved.”
Nick Ballard from Community housing organisation, ACORN who have been campaigning for ethical lettings across Bristol said:
"Like any business, private rentals must be properly regulated and decent standards ensured. Landlord licensing is a vital first step in creating a register of landlords that will allow much-needed oversight. Permitting local authorities to inspect privately-rented property as a matter of course will protect tenants from the revenge evictions that too-often follow when we complain ourselves. ACORN is committed to the creation of a progressive and fair rental sector and landlord licensing is a fundamental requirement for this."
Green Councillor Clive Stevens, who also represents Clifton Down concluded:
"Landlords shouldn't be able to profit from other peoples' misery, they should be made to offer premises to an acceptable standard, in other walks of life businesses have to comply with the trades descriptions act, why not landlords?"
Earlier this month a landlord couple were fined tens of thousands of pounds under the landlord licencing scheme in Easton: http://news.bristol.gov.uk/landlords-fined-for-not-having-the-correct-licences/
The Big Housing Conversation will be held on Sept 7th: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-big-housing-conversation-tickets-26699712559
The Stapleton Road Licencing Scheme was started in 2013, and after its success at improving standards the scheme was extended to St George West and Eastville in Feb 2016.