Tough action 'to be taken on absent north-east landlords'

Landlords in the north-east have been given a severe warning that they will face serious punishments if they allow their homes to fall into a state of disrepair.

The Shields Gazette has told how South Tyneside Council has promised to crack down on all those property owners who rent out homes and then become absent. Once landlords disappear from the scene, they often allow their properties to be run down and become inhabitable.

Councillors have decided they are in favour of a new scheme that will allow regulatory powers to be used to track which landlords are not meeting their responsibilities. They could then be punished as a result.

In one recent scheme, 11 homes in Jarrow were taken over by the council and the local authority's environmental protection manager Tony Hanson said this is just one example of how the body can get involved to good effect.

Should the project get off the ground and new rules are introduced, they might act as a significant deterrent to landlords who are thinking of taking the rental income and fleeing from their duties. Knowing they could face a fine or other form of punishment may prove to be a huge disincentive.

Although the council's intentions are positive, councillor Emma Lewell-Buck sounded a note of warning, as she said such processes tend not to be fast. Indeed, it may even prove to be several years before a full range of powers are in place.

Mr Hanson added that the council is making moves towards the Homes and Communities Agency in a bid to secure funding for its plans. He noted that it is vital councils follow the relevant housing regulations, even though this can create problems between private and council tenants.

Ultimately, it falls to landlords to ensure their properties are adequately maintained so that they are kept in a condition that is suitable for tenants. Those who fail to do this might just find they face council action before too long.ADNFCR-1645-ID-801551135-ADNFCR

Published on: March 5, 2013

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