Torbay Labour councillor, Darren Cowell, has welcomed the mayor’s decision to fund enforcement officers to tackle the problem of rogue landlords.
Cllr Cowell invited the mayor to a meeting with residents last month and received promises to meet again. At the second meeting, which was held last night, Mayor Oliver made the proposal to fund targeted actions against the worst offending landlords.
The meeting, which was attended by residents and representatives from Devon Landlords Association, heard from inspector Adrian Leisk, who said they would support the efforts.
Cllr Cowell told the PRSD: “I very much welcome the mayor’s decision to tackle what is a real problem for many residents in Torbay. We have had over 1,400 complaints about by private landlords, so doing nothing was not an option.
“I was concerned that during the summer the mayor was going to dither on the issue and hundreds of tenants would continue to be blighted by poor housing conditions. The announcement was robust and he is wants swift action.
“I hope that we can send the message far and wide that Torbay is no longer a soft touch and to those irresponsible landlords the message has to be loud and clear that if you don’t act responsibly we are coming to get you.
“I was pleased that representatives from the Landlords Association were at the meeting as it shows that the vast majority of private landlords are responsible. The rogue element give them a bad name and we need to work together to deal with them.
“The mayor’s decision is, in my view, a response to the reaction of communities after he initially failed to respond to the report by Overview and Scrutiny recommending targeted actions.
“I have been working with Community Partnerships and in particular the lead of the Melville Hill residents, Nick Burleigh, to convince Gordon Oliver of the urgent need to act. The report from Overview and Scrutiny received cross-party support and was clear in its recommendations.”
Advice published by government stated that ‘local authorities should take swift and decisive action to tackle rogue landlords. It is important that local authorities take leadership on this issue and prioritise action as tackling rogue landlords can improve the quality of life for a whole community’.
Cllr Cowell said: “I am pleased that the administration is heeding their own government’s avice and his response shows that people power can work.
“Now is the time to work collectively to tackle rogue landlords and anti-social behaviour. Our communities should not be blighted by this and working with the police, health, communities and officers we can make a difference.”