Nottingham City Council has been awarded £100,000 by the Government to help private landlords improve housing standards across the city.
The council is one of more than 100 local authorities across England awarded a share of over £4m. Councils will use the funding to crack down on criminal landlords and letting agents — in Nottingham the council also want to use their share of the funding to create support services for landlords and tenants.
The funding will be spent on:
- Improving the advice available with a number of online resources. This includes a ‘Landlords Preventing Homelessness Tool’ — which will provide information about alternative actions a landlord can take, if they feel their only option is to evict a tenant. It’s hoped that this could go towards reducing homelessness in the city.
- Training sessions for landlords. The council works closely with EMPO (East Midlands Property Owners Ltd) and they found that some landlords currently lack sufficient levels of knowledge around the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and fire safety. This training would help to raise awareness and understanding and improve the health and safety of tenants.
- The ‘Marks out of Tenancy’ (MOOT) scheme that asks tenants to review their home and its management. The scheme, which works like Trip Advisor, should see standards of properties improved as landlords take action to avoid and/or fix low rated properties and help tenants to feel more confident in renting a property.
- A series of ‘How to…’ videos offering advice to landlords on what a ‘good’ property should look like. For example one will shadow a qualified housing inspector conducting an inspection, showing what landlords should look for when checking properties. A second video — ‘A Tenants’ Guide’ — will show what constitutes poor management and explain how to raise concerns with landlords and then with the council if matters are not resolved.
- Tackling a number of rogue landlords in the city, with a training programme to create more accredited Enforcement Officers. These officers are a key contact with landlords and their role starts with advice and guidance — only escalating to enforcement when landlords do not comply. The training will support, promote and develop higher standards of enforcement in the private rented housing sector and offer them more powers of prosecution.
Cllr Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage, said: “Most landlords want to comply with the law and offer a good home to their tenants. Tenants need to know what to expect from their landlord and the best way to exercise their rights. These projects offer a range of tools to make their lives easier and improve the safety and quality of housing.
“The council wants to make sure there are ‘Quality Homes for All’ and to do this we need to support good landlords and act against poor and criminal landlords. These projects will support this aim by substantially improving the advice available to landlords, including ways to prevent making people homeless. It also empowers renters by providing advice and guidance and directly involving them in the assessment of their properties.”
Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP commented: “This Government will deliver a better deal for renters. It’s completely unacceptable that a minority of unscrupulous landlords continue to break the law and provide homes which fall short of the standards we rightly expect — making lives difficult for hard-working tenants who just want to get on with their lives.
“Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe and secure and the funding announced today will strengthen councils’ powers to crack down on poor landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector for renters across the country.”
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