Council targets rogue landlords


Irresponsible and rogue landlords in North Somerset could face financial penalties of up to £30,000 as the council steps up its efforts to tackle poor rented accommodation in the area.

Following a successful bid to the government’s Rogue Landlords Fund, the council received funding earlier this year to help its work improving standards in the private rented sector. And now the council’s Private Rented Sector Housing team are gearing up to visit communities and properties, ready to inform, provide advice and also enforce regulations.

As part of the council’s ‘tackling rogue landlords’ campaign, landlords are being urged to become accredited with the National Landlord’s Code of Excellence (NLCE). Accreditation to the scheme helps make sure landlords are providing quality and safe properties for their tenants.

From next month, officers will be carrying out targeted inspections in Weston-super-Mare on properties of landlords not accredited to the NLCE. Where hazards or risks are identified, the council will use its statutory powers to rectify problems. This could ultimately result in a financial penalty of up to £30,000 for landlords who fail to comply with any enforcement action.

A number of roadshow events will also be taking place next week to give landlords and tenants the chance to find out more about their roles and responsibilities, as well as where to go for support and advice.

Members of the team will be visiting the following areas in Weston with MAVISbus, from 10.30am to 2.30pm each day:

  • Monday 11 March – Princess Royal Square
  • Tuesday 12 March – Italian Gardens
  • Wednesday 13 March – by Marine Lake
  • Thursday 14 March – Big Lamp Corner

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, deputy leader and executive member with responsibility for housing, said: “Many landlords provide quality rental accommodation but there are some who do little to maintain their properties. No one should have to pay to live in a property that is unsafe or in a state of disrepair. Our message for landlords is very clear – make sure the accommodation you provide is good quality and join an accreditation scheme like the NLCE.

“Accreditation means landlords are meeting the legal obligations of providing good standard, safe rental accommodation to tenants. Poor quality housing not only impacts on the health and wellbeing of tenants, it affects the wider community as well, and we are committed to improving the standard of accommodation in the private rented sector.”

Sam Jackson, Director of the NLCE, said: “Training and education are the cornerstone of any profession, being a landlord is a profession and not a hobby. With over 150 new laws and 400 pieces of regulation in the last 10 years, even the most experienced landlords have something to learn.

“Rent repayment orders, fines and even prison sentence can await the landlord not willing to up their game. The NLCE will keep you informed, assist you when needed and help you avoid falling foul of the law. The cost is minimal and you continue to run your business without too much intrusion.”

More information about landlord accreditation is available at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/landlordaccreditation.

Anyone can report concerns about a rogue landlord, letting agent or a rented property at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/roguelandlord.