Nowhere to hide for rogue landlords, with Government-backed data system

Houses

An innovative data modelling tool to target rogue landlords in Nottingham more effectively has won financial backing from the Government.

The new system, which received £43,821 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, aims to make the work to tackle rogue landlords more efficient than the current approach, which is time-consuming and labour-intensive.

The online tool will help prioritise high-risk properties for enforcement action by using multiple layers of data from council departments and partner organisations such as Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue and Nottinghamshire Police. This new approach is being delivered in partnership with the University of Nottingham.

Around 37,000 properties in the private rented sector in Nottingham fall within one of three licensing schemes – but 17,000 properties are unlicensed. This scheme will help to identify which of these properties are highest risk and use appropriate regulation and enforcement powers to achieve improvements across the sector.

The council’s Safer Housing Team takes action to protect residents from living in sub-standard, unsuitable and dangerous accommodation. Some are victims of organised crime, trafficking, slavery and sexual exploitation by criminal landlords who show a complete disregard for the law and put profit before safety.

The council continues to work with good landlords, recognising the important role they play in the housing sector in Nottingham. The council supports the Nottingham Standard landlord accreditation scheme and promotes this. The council also encourages tenants to search for accredited landlords when renting.

Portfolio Holder for Community Protection, Cllr Toby Neal, said: “We are at the forefront when it comes to tackling rogue landlords and just last year investigated and improved over 750 properties across the city after receiving complaints, as well as carrying out a range of civil enforcement action and criminal prosecutions.

“This data modelling tool will step up our fight against rogue landlords by using the best possible intelligence to tackle them and poor housing conditions in areas where there are associated problems such as high repeated crime and issues of anti-social behaviour. It means there can be an effective multi-agency response, allowing for the police and other enforcement agencies to take action together to tackle a range of issues such as dangerous and poor housing conditions, overcrowding, modern slavery, trafficking, organised crime and anti-social behaviour.

“Ultimately it will lead to more properties in the city being properly licensed and so give private tenants a better standard of living and proper recourse to support if things go wrong.”

Announcing the £2.4m nationwide fund, Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP said: “Everyone has the right to live in a home that is safe and secure, and it is vital we crack down on the small minority of landlords who are not giving their tenants this security.

“This extra funding will further boost councils’ ability to root out rogue landlords and ensure that poor-quality homes in the area are improved, making the housing market fairer for everyone.”

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