Tuesday, 15 January 2013

City Council To Get Tougher On Rogue Landlords And Empty Homes

Rogue landlords across Cambridge have been warned that the city council is to get even tougher by increasing the number of inspections on rented properties.

The council has set aside £40,000 in its budget for a landlord liaison officer to give more time to inspections so that they can be carried out when complaints are made.

And the council is recruiting an Empty Homes Office with a further £40,000   from the government’s New Homes Bonus to bring empty houses across the city back into use.

“With so many people having to rely on private landlords in Cambridge we must strive to protect tenants from sub-standard and rogue landlords,” said Cambridge City Executive Councillor, Catherine Smart.

“We have prosecuted landlords who break the law but I want us to be able to react when complaints are made so that inspections can be carried out.

“We also want to be able to devote more time to bringing empty homes across the city back into use. We cannot have houses empty for years and years while so many people are desperate for homes.”

Houses stand empty because of disputes over probate, owner illness and other complex situations. Cambridge City Council has the power to apply for management orders or even compulsory purchase orders to address the situation.

“It is essential to try persuasion first,” added Cllr Smart, “but if that doesn’t work we need to go for a management or compulsory purchase order. That takes time, however, and by recruiting a new member of staff we can devote more time to this issue.”