Bristol City Council has been handed a significant sum of money by the Home Office to drive up standards in the private rental sector.
The Home Office has issued Bristol City Council with £321,750 to target rogue landlords and protect tenants from dangers in the private rental sector. The funding comes from the Controlling Migration Fund and is designed to improve conditions in the sector over the next two years. This will be done by enabling the council to conduct intelligence work which will help identify criminal landlords. The council will then conduct enforcement work when necessary.
Bristol City Council plans to make approximately 1,2000 property inspections over the next two years. However, to aid them in targeting the appropriate actors they are urging tenants to come forward should they have any concerns about the condition of their rental property which could not be resolved through negotiations with a landlord.
The council’s housing team will work in partnership with actors such as the Avon and Somerset Police and Immigration Compliance Enforcement (ICE) to identify properties which could play host to trafficking activity or high levels of exploitation.
In 2016 the council was also offered a sum from Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to carry out similar work targeting criminal landlords. 153 individual property inspections were carried out during this time, with 20 prosecution notices issued and four prosecutions carried out.
Cabinet member for homes, Paul Smith, said: ‘Across the city people are finding it increasingly difficult to access decent, affordable homes. In Bristol we are working hard to tackle criminal landlords and through this extra funding, we expect to see a reduction in the number of these criminal landlords letting out poor quality accommodation and exploiting tenants. Making sure that everyone in Bristol has a safe, comfortable place to call home, is one of our key priorities, and we are doing all we can to make this a reality. We intend to use all enforcement powers at our disposal where appropriate.’