Wakefield Council Officers Approve Plans to Improve HMO Conditions

Senior officers at Wakefield Council have approved plans to improve conditions for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

The plans, which also aim to tighten regulations in a bid to improve standards, were approved during a meeting of senior councilors on Tuesday. Wakefield Council’s cabinet agreed that it was necessary to improve the protection offered for those in privately rented accommodation.

Research found that during 2001, an estimated five per cent of housing in the Wakefield district was privately rented. This then rose to 15 per cent when reassessed in 2016. Whilst the majority of Wakefield landlords offered homes that were both safe and well maintained, it was deemed by the cabinet that others did not hold the same standards. Some homes were found to be badly managed, often compromising the safety of the tenant. This suggested that further aid was needed to support the tenants living in negligible conditions.

It was agreed in discussion that strengthening the council’s enforcement powers would enable them to take measures that would benefit the regulation of the sector. This in turn would help tackle the health and social inequalities which often affect people who reside in poorly maintained accommodation.

Cabinet member for economic growth and regeneration, Councillor Denise Jeffery, said: ‘We have to work with some very serious problems in our wards. We have a lot of good landlords but some are abusing the system and we need to tackle the situation. We need to check the HMOs on a much more regular basis, we have to work in the community and deal with the issues that are coming along. Small terraced houses in our area are all being turned into HMOs and it’s causing real issues.’

Council leader, Councillor Peter Box, confirmed that he recognised the need for council support for tenants, saying: ‘By improving conditions and where necessary, taking enforcement action against rogue landlords, the council will support tenants to ensure they are treated fairly.’