The Home Office is attempting to improve standards in the private rented sector in Bristol, by giving Bristol City Council £321,750 to combat rogue landlords and protect tenants.
This funding has come from the Controlling Mitigation Fund and is designed to improve sector conditions over the next two years. It is hoped this will take place by allowing the council to carry out intelligence work in order to identify and stamp out criminals in the city.
Around 1,200 property inspections are planned for the next two years, but the council is urging tenants to come forward should they have concerns over the condition of their rental property.
Partners working with the council’s private housing team will include Avon and Somerset Police and Immigration Compliance Enforcement. These firms will work together to identify properties likely to have high levels of exploitation and trafficking.
In 2016, Bristol City Council was awarded money from the Department for Communities and Local Government in order to carry out similar work targeting criminal landlords. During this time, the private housing team inspected 153 individual properties, served 20 enforcement notices and carried out four prosecutions.
Paul Smith, cabinet member for homes, noted: ‘Across the city people are finding it increasingly difficult to access decent, affordable homes. In Bristol we are working hard to tackle criminal landlords and through this extra funding, we expect to see a reduction in the number of these criminal landlords letting out poor quality accommodation and exploiting tenants.’
‘Making sure that everyone in Bristol has a safe, comfortable place to call home, is one of our key priorities, and we are doing all we can to make this a reality. We intend to use all enforcement powers at our disposal where appropriate.’