Nottingham City Council has handled over 4,500 complaints and requests for help over the last four years about housing conditions in Nottingham’s private rented sector, according to latest figures.
A total of 4,502 complaints have been made to the Council since 2013/14 – 933 of them just this year so far.
Complaints dealt with by the Council include everything from dangerous electrical wiring; cockroach infestations, smoke alarms not working and lack of windows, ventilation or safe escape.
Improving the quality and safety of privately rented accommodation in the city is a priority for the council and over the last few years three major new initiatives have been launched – a Rogue Landlord campaign, the Nottingham Standard landlord accreditation mark and a new additional licensing scheme for rented houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). In the last four years, 1,866 properties have been improved, thanks to interventions from the Safer Housing Team.
In January 2016, the council’s Community Protection Safer Housing team was awarded £151,079 to help tackle the issue of rogue landlords in Nottingham. This follows on from the successes of the rogue landlord campaign – also funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) – in 2013-2015.
Nottingham Community Protection, a partnership between the council and Nottinghamshire Police has served 999 statutory notices on landlords over the last four years. Teams at the council have also helped tenants to get back hundreds of pounds in rent payments after a landlord is successfully prosecuted. With our support, tenants have been able to apply for a rent repayment order under the Housing Act.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing at Nottingham City Council, said: “The Council is absolutely committed to raising the standard of privately rented accommodation in the city and tackling any landlords who let housing in poor conditions.
“We have seen some shocking cases where we have had to take action against landlords prepared to allow tenants to live in properties that are frankly squalid and unsafe.
“Unfortunately it’s an increasing problem, as reflected in the growing number of complaints we are receiving, which is why we have initiatives in place to tackle rogue landlords and support better quality privately rented accommodation in the city.”
Over the last four years, 101 Emergency Prohibition Orders and 207 Prohibition Orders have been served on landlords to safeguard tenants exposed to unacceptable risks found during inspections. Plus there have been 19 prosecutions and cautions issued to rogue landlords. A recent case includes a landlord being fined over £27,000, just two years after being fined £25,000 over another property on the same street, Mansfield Road.
Mr Zain Khan of Mayo Road, Nottingham, pleaded guilty in September to several offences. Officers found that fire alarms weren’t working, there was a lack of fire doors and escape routes were blocked. One whole floor had no central heating and there was a boiler leak and exposed live electrical wires in the building.
Within a few weeks a second landlord had been fined £29,000 after a rental property on Alfreton Road was found to be in a filthy and in verminous conditions with a rat infestation. Nottingham HMO Ltd, directed by Mr Nazaquat Azam and previously by Mr Yusif McCallum until 30 November 2015, was found guilty of breaching healthy and safety rules.
Inspectors found the property had no working fire detection system and the integrity of the fire doors was compromised due to damage. The house was in a filthy and verminous condition with an infestation of rats in the kitchen.
Cllr Urquhart said: “These cases emphasise that the Council will not tolerate neglectful landlords who do not take the health and safety of their tenants seriously. Rogue landlords can fully expect to be prosecuted by us.
“Residents in Nottingham have the right to live in a safe home, and our housing teams work hard with other agencies to ensure that this happens.
“We recognise that there are many good landlords in the city providing decent homes. We are proud to continue working with them and supporting their endeavours.”
If you are a tenant and think that your property should be licensed or have other concerns about your accommodation, you can report it via twitter @nottmrenters or Facebook at /NottinghamRenters
Alternatively, tenants phone 0115 9152020 or report a rogue landlord online at https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/roguelandlord