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Telford and Wrekin Council has been handed a sum of £388,925 by the government in a bid to improve standards in the private rental sector in Telford and provide a better service for tenants.
The funding, which comes from the Better Homes for All package, will be used to generally improve conditions in the sector. This will be done by enabling the council to conduct intelligence work in order to identify and target criminal landlords in the area and also take enforcement action when necessary.
Better Homes For All was approved by Telford and Wrekin Council’s cabinet in February and enlisted to improve housing in the private rented sector. It includes various measures, one of which is initiating a new rogue landlord taskforce.
Additional officers will be put in place to allow the council’s housing team to focus on private rented housing standards across the borough.
Telford and Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for finance, commercial services and economic development, Councillor Lee Carter, said: ‘This bid from government will help us to transform the private rented sector in Telford and Wrekin by improving landlords’ and agents’ management of properties to ensure that accommodation is managed effectively; providing information to tenants on their rights and responsibilities; building a profile of landlords and agents operating poorly within borough; and tackling rogue landlords and associated criminal activity. It will help us in our journey towards securing better housing standards in the private rented sector.”
Telford and Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for housing and enforcement, Councillor Richard Overton, added: ‘We welcome this funding for the new rogue landlords taskforce. By having these additional officers, we will have time and the ability to work more closely with the borough’s good landlords, letting agents and tenants, build intelligence on the rogues. When the poorly behaving landlords and letting agents have been identified, our officers will, firstly try to engage and educate, but will resort to enforcement when necessary.’
He continued: ‘This increase in officers will allow us to build relationships by having the time to work with partner agencies such as West Mercia Police, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, Insolvency Service, HMRC, West Midlands UK Border Agency and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to share information, knowledge and action plans.’