As if you didn’t have enough to worry about as a landlord, one council in the UK is going to introduce spot checks for rental properties. The aim of this initiative is to tackle the number of private rental properties that are in poor condition and provide a better deal for tenants. If the scheme is successful you can expect other councils to adopt the process.
There will be a trial of the spot checks in Weston-super-Mare conducted by North Somerset council. The town centre area will be targeted following a review which uncovered many private rented properties that were in poor condition.
Rent with Confidence
The council is calling this new spot check scheme “Rent with Confidence” and the plan is to undertake random inspections of private rental properties. If the “inspectors” find properties that are in poor condition then they will use enforcement action against landlords and this is likely to include fixed penalties.
If the offending landlord has more than one property in the area then inspections of their other properties will take place immediately. The council will be providing landlords and letting agents education and information about the minimum property standards that are required. This will include fire prevention, appropriate heating, security and mould and damp prevention.
The council inspectors will take a very tough stance on property conditions so landlords that do not take the proper care of their properties will be in for a tough time. The council strongly believes that tenants should be fully protected and live in properties which are fit for purpose and well maintained. It is not clear yet what action will be taken against landlords that repeatedly break the rules.
Tenants deserve Proper Accommodation
North Somerset council is behind the tenants every step of the way with the Rent with Confidence scheme. They have identified that Weston-super-Mare has a number of private rental properties that are not up to scratch. The council believes that these poor living conditions are affecting the health and wellbeing of tenants, and has a negative impact on the whole area.
A spokesperson for the council said that they knew many landlords in the area provide their tenants with private rental housing that is of the highest quality. But they were also aware that a number of landlords did nothing or very little to keep their properties well maintained let alone improve them.
The result of this lack of attention means that tenants are suffering from living in very poor conditions. The council went on to say that no paying tenant should have to live in a poorly maintained property which does not have even the most basic of facilities, and is cold and damp.
It is hard to argue that the Rent with Confidence scheme does not have the best of intentions. If you have tenants paying you to live in your property then you should be doing everything possible to keep it in top condition.
Scheme to launch in October 2018
The council plans to introduce the new scheme alongside the new HMO licensing rules which take effect on 1 October 2018. The changes in the HMO rules will mean that an estimated 300 properties will require a license in North Somerset.