In two years, standards of privately rented homes in Telford and Wrekin have improved as a result of the council’s work with landlords and letting agents.
‘Better Homes For All’ was launched by Telford & Wrekin Council in February 2018. It set out to improve the quality of accommodation for people who privately rent in the borough by supporting good landlords while cracking down on the bad.
During that time the council has worked with landlords and letting agents, adopting a balanced ‘Educate, Encourage and Enforce’ approach. It has also helped hundreds of tenants with a wide variety of issues.
A report to be presented to Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet when it meets on Thursday 9 July lists the achievements of ‘Better Homes For All’ over those two years. They include:
•More than 250 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) licensed and two prosecutions brought for poor HMO standards.
•Almost 100 landlords signed up to the Council’s Landlords Accreditation Scheme.
•Helped over 224 people with complex needs to secure a long term tenancy.
•Helping more than 800 tenants reporting concerns including with their tenancy, landlord or property repair
•Addressing 97 referrals as a result of the council’s "Report a Rogue” campaign.
•425 enforcement notices issued to landlords to bring their properties up to standard
•First council in the country to secure a banning order on a landlord, preventing them from working in the property industry for up to five years.
The report recommends that ‘Better Homes For All’ widens its focus to target bringing empty homes across the Borough back into use and to tackle fuel poverty by offering further help for eligible vulnerable households to access energy saving schemes.
The Report highlights that there are 390 properties in the Borough that have been empty for more than 2 years. Working with property owners the Council wants to ensure that such properties are returned to a positive use, limiting impact on local communities and ensuring we make best use of existing houses.
"Tackling fuel poverty is part of the Council’s commitment to ensure a safe, warm and affordable home for all residents and contributing to the Council’s strategy to address climate change. The work will build on the existing free advisory service and Switch Telford, a Council initiative which has already enabled more than 1,700 switches supporting residents access the best energy deal they can.”
Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Enforcement, said: "We have achieved so much by working closely with landlords and letting agents. Our officers guided them and continue to guide them on all the things they need to do to bring their properties up to standard and comply with all the laws.
"When we had to take action, we did. Whether it was an enforcement notice to bring about a repair or improvement, or the banning of a landlord, we will do whatever it takes to make sure we protect and care for our residents.
"I would like to thank our officers for their hard work and commitment.”
Councillor David Wright, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "80% of the homes we will have in 20 years’ time are already built. The ‘Better Homes For All report’ shows how we are making the best use of our existing homes that are privately rented – and outlines what it will do for all housing in the future.
"The programme will include bringing empty residential properties back into use. It will also turn to further tackling fuel poverty by increasing take-up of energy efficient schemes and funding by widening eligibility for more vulnerable households for things like insulation and heating upgrades, paid for by energy companies.
"Last week (22 August) we launched a consultation on our draft Housing Strategy for the next five years and I would encourage everyone to give their views so, together, we can build a better housing environment.”
•For help with all aspects of housing, visit: https://www.telford.gov.uk/housing
•To report a rogue landlord, visit: https://www.telford.gov.uk/info/20672/do_you_need_to_report_a_problem/3504/rogue_landlords
•For information on Telford & Wrekin Council’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme, visit: https://thf.telford.gov.uk/
Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet meeting will be broadcast live and available on catch up on: