Wolverhampton City Council has thrown its weight behind a major national campaign to tackle rogue landlords and support private housing tenants.

The authority is the first in the Black Country to join Shelter's call for councils across the country to take a tough stance against the worst offending landlords.

In backing the Evict Rogue Landlords campaign, the council is reinforcing its commitment to clamp down on landlords who do not comply with the law.

Councillor Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Prosperity, said: "The majority of landlords and agents who have property in the city operate within the law, meet acceptable property and management standards and co-operate with the council to improve their standards where and when necessary.

"But there are a small minority of rogue landlords who are renting out homes that are in an appalling state of repair, putting people's health, safety and wellbeing at risk.

"By signing up to Shelter's Evict Rogue Landlords campaign, we're sending a strong message that we will be 'tough' on landlords who flout the law."

Campbell Robb, Shelter's Chief Executive, said: "We are pleased to hear that Wolverhampton City Council is committing to firm action against rogue landlords operating in their area.

"Every day at Shelter we see the devastating impact rogue landlords have on people's lives, and we've been campaigning to urge government and councils to crack down on this small but highly dangerous minority who make people's lives a misery."

While the council sees legal action as a last resort, it will take necessary action to protect potentially vulnerable tenants.

Over the last 18 months, Wolverhampton City Council has taken 10 cases to court for serious breaches of housing legislation with landlords and agents incurring fines and costs of £50,000. In addition the council has issued a further 7 formal cautions and warnings.

But the authority also offers a range of support to help landlords comply with legislation and meet minimum property and housing management standards.

The Council encourages landlords and agents who operate in the city to sign up to the Type=links;Linkid=2207;Title=Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme Code of Conduct;Target=_blank;.

The Wolverhampton Landlord Steering Group has also been established as a way for the local authority to consult with landlords on new policies, practices and initiatives. It also gives landlords the opportunity to receive advice and gain information on current activity in the private rented sector.

A Selective Licensing Scheme was introduced to the All Saints area of the city in January 2012 to encourage improvements in property and housing management practices across the area's private rented sector.

Selective Licensing requires all private rented properties within a designated area to be licenced. To date 155 licences have been granted out of a potential 173 properties.

More landlords are now contacting the council to work together to help improve standards. Between 1 April, 2012 and 31 March, 2013 Wolverhampton City Council's Private Sector Housing Improvements Team dealt with 706 requests for assistance and advice from landlords, agents and tenants.

For more information landlords, agents and tenants with enquiries can visit the website, contact City Direct on 01902 551155 or email private.sector@wolverhampton.gov.uk

  • released: Wednesday 14 August, 2013