Cornwall Council to tackle the private rented sector

By Cornwall Council:

A strategy to drive better quality homes for residents in the private rented sector in Cornwall, by proposing the effective use of new enforcement powers, is currently being set out in a consultation by Cornwall Council.

With the delivery of more affordable housing and improved quality of privately rented homes being two of the Council’s key priorities, the new proposals acknowledge the growing demand for private sector accommodation in Cornwall and are designed to ensure that people who rent privately are getting value for money and can live safely.

There are currently upwards of 40 000 properties which make up the private sector rental market in Cornwall and a growing number of families with young children living in privately rented homes.

With an estimated 50% of accommodation in the private rented sector in Cornwall currently failing to meet the Government’s Decent Home Standard, the new strategy focuses on key areas for improvement, including:

  • Considering new forms of property licensing to regulate and improve standards in shared and single occupation properties, where they fall short
  • Working with landlords to improve the 4500+ privately rented properties in Cornwall known to be poorly insulated and therefore very expensive to heat
  • Embracing new powers, such as banning orders and piloting compulsory purchase to tackle the worst landlords who continue to provide poor quality housing and place tenants at risk of harm
  • Creating better opportunities to widen access to private sector rented accommodation to those in the most housing need
  • Beefing up the existing Cornwall Responsible Landlords Scheme so that it helps more landlords comply with the raft of complex laws and regulations that apply to owning and managing rented homes.

In addition, to support the new strategy, new enforcement powers will see fines of up to £30k for landlords who break the law, and proposed increases of licensing fees for multiple occupation dwellings to fully reflect the true cost of delivery.

Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes, Andrew Mitchell said: “Private sector rentals are the backbone of a healthy and resilient housing market in Cornwall. The 40,000+ properties in Cornwall’s private rented sector perform a vital role in meeting the housing needs of thousands of Cornwall’s residents.

“At their best, landlords in this sector provide safe secure and comfortable accommodation that meets the expectations of tenants who live there.

“We want to work with these landlords to share best practice, in order to drive up the standards where accommodation falls below expectations or in some cases is unsafe or illegal.

 

“Safe, affordable housing is a key priority for Cornwall Council and this new strategy will help us to address the significant challenges and drive up standards in this vital area.

“The consultation on the new strategy is aimed primarily at landlords, tenants and key stakeholders in the private rental sector ends on 23 February 2018. We want as wide a range of views as possible. It’s in everybody’s interests to shape a strategy that works for the sector and the many people who rely on it.” You can have your say here.

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