Prosecution and penalty notices for hundreds of Sheffield’s private landlords that have failed to apply for licences to rent out their properties are being finalised ahead of the deadline later this week.
Private landlords on London Road, and parts of Abbeydale Road and Chesterfield Road, were required to apply to the council for a licence to rent out their properties by 1 November 2018.
On 20 June, Sheffield Council’s Cabinet approved recommendations to designate around 668 properties on these roads for Selective Licensing.
It is a tool that councils can use where there are high levels of problems associated with the private rented housing.
The Private Housing Standards team had been working in the area for around four years, as a result of complaints. Over that time, specialist officers encouraged landlords to abide by their legal requirements and accept advice about how to repair and manage their properties.
But the majority resisted the intervention which led to the recommendations to introduce the licensing scheme.
The Council would like to thank those landlords that have already applied for a licence. They acknowledge that some landlords in the area are co-operative and have good properties.
But as expected, many have resisted which means they are now in breach of the law, and risk criminal prosecution and financial penalties.
Councillor Jim Steinke, Cabinet Member for Housing at Sheffield City Council, said: “Don’t underestimate our commitment and our powers. We mean what we say.
“We have thousands of safe and well managed private rented properties across the city. But we cannot ignore the despicable conditions we saw on London Road, Abbeydale Road and Chesterfield Road. We encourage all landlords to help themselves and take responsibility.
“Everyone deserves to live in safe, good quality housing, regardless of whether they rent or own their home.”
The crackdown comes within a week of the Council’s Landlord Awards 2018, where they recognised that many excellent landlords are also operating in the city.
Councillor Steinke added “It is absolutely correct and fair that the Council acknowledges and congratulates our many good landlords that go over and above the legal minimum to provide great homes and excellent services for the people of Sheffield. Some of the stories we heard about were heart-warming and reassurance that many tenants are in safe hands.”
This scheme shows the Council’s commitment to continue in its mission to clamp down on the very small minority of bad landlords in Sheffield that treat their tenants badly and tarnish the private rented sector.
The Council urges anyone that has an issue with their private landlord or private rented property to contact them, or the specialist housing charity Shelter who have qualified advisors to help with any problems.
All Councils have a legal duty to regulate their private rented sector to make sure tenants are safe and landlords are meeting their legal responsibilities.
Sheffield has around 40,000 private rented properties – the majority of which is safe and well managed
The team responsible for regulating the sector is Private Housing Standards. The team is made up of qualified and experienced officers who have the knowledge to advise landlords and tenants about their legal duties and rights.
We receive around 2,000 queries every year and investigate every one.
Most of our work is successful through informal advice. But we are highly successful in prosecutions, and landlords have received custodial sentences because of our work.
We promote a twin track approach where we promote the good and target the bad. This is the fair way to regulate such an important and complex area.
It is in the public interest to encourage all tenants/family members that are experiencing problems with their private rented property or landlord to seek advice from us. We are the prosecuting authority and are the only body that can properly respond to the issues. If people are not comfortable coming to the Council – we urge them to contact Shelter or Citizens Advice because they have qualified advice workers who can signpost them.
The full report about the area can be found here
To report any concerns about private rented accommodation in Sheffield please contact the council’s Private Housing Standards team on 0114 273 4680 or by emailing email@example.com