Alex Cunningham MP today called upon the Government to protect tenants in Stockton North from dodgy and absentee landlords. Alex was responding to a report by housing charity Shelter which demonstrated the appalling problems faced by private tenants because of rogue landlords. He warned that plans from the Tory-led coalition government risked damaging the standard of private homes and the quality of life in their communities.
Since the election, the Government has announced it will sweep away key regulations introduced by Labour to protect private tenants. These include a national register of landlords set up to allow tenants to make basic checks on their prospective landlords, and enable Stockton Borough Council to enforce letting rules more easily.
The findings in the report show the continuing problem of rogue landlords, at a time when the Government is rolling back commitments to protect private tenants, many of whom come from vulnerable groups. The report found that:
- Almost 100% of environmental health officers say they have encountered landlords who persistently ignore their responsibilities.
- Over 90% of environmental health officers said they had encountered cases of severe damp, mould, electrical or fire safety hazards in properties they investigated in the last year.
- Over 60% of environmental health officers said that more than half of their cases involved people from vulnerable groups.
Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter said:
“It is simply not acceptable that people are handing over their hard earned cash to live in houses that are run-down, squalid and in some cases even dangerous. Our investigation shows just how ruthless a minority of rogue landlords can be. We know there are people operating in cities up and down the county and it’s clear that this is a national problem that urgently needs a national solution.”
“There are over 3,000 private tenants in Stockton North all of whom stand to lose out from changes to landlord regulations. Shelter’s research confirms that private tenants are suffering under dodgy and absentee landlords at a time when the Government, putting landlords’ interests over tenants’, is rolling back key protective regulations. I have signed Early Day Motion 685 which calls on the Government to address this issue to protect England’s eight million private tenants.”