Extra cash helps Sunderland set its sights on tackling rogue landlords through latest tech
Extra cash will help Sunderland in its campaign to tackle the city’s rogue private landlords by creating an app to tap and tell on problem property owners.
The additional funding of £90,000 has been awarded to Sunderland City Council to cover the cost of new technology to help in a crackdown on the issue, as well as improve rented housing across Wearside.
There are 34,000 private rented properties in Sunderland and the sector continues to grow, with the money pledged by the Government to help improve the regulation of private landlords.
Coming from the Private Rented Sector Innovation and Enforcement Grant Fund, it will help develop a smartphone reporting app for tenants and improve monitoring of properties.
The new tenant reporting systems are being prepared for later this year.
Cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson said: "The council receives hundreds of reports about privately rented properties per year, where the condition of the property poses a risk to the health and safety of the tenant.
"Landlords have a clear responsibility to ensure that the properties they rent are safe for occupation at the start of a tenancy and are maintained in a safe condition.
"A way of doing this is to undertake appropriately timed and arranged property inspections and maintaining good lines of communications with their tenants.
“Most landlords take these duties seriously but a small percentage of privately rented landlords fail and the council is using its powers to tackle this criminal element. These rogue landlords can give the private rented sector a bad name."
The council continues to take enforcement action against landlords. Actions include:• Legal notices – requiring repair works to properties
• Court proceedings against those landlords who fail to comply with Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) regulations or to comply with a repair notice or order
• Civil penalties of up to £30,000 for failing to comply with regulations or repair notices.
If a landlord fails to act within a reasonable timescale on a written report of serious disrepair made by a tenant of a privately rented property, tenants are advised to log their concerns with the council by calling (0191) 520 5551.