Public sector cuts hit efforts to bring rogue landlords to justice
Tuesday 15th May 2012
Public sector cuts mean that councils can no longer afford to crack down on rogue landlords.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health did a survey of local authorities, which uncovered a falling number of prosecutions of bad landlords.
One council replied: “We generally have no budget to prosecute.” Another said that it had been unable to take anything through to the prosecution stage since 2009 because their legal department is so small.
A third council said that it had ‘practically disbanded its private sector housing team’. In another case, just one environmental health officer has been left to cover two authorities, with large geographical areas, following a restructure.
David Kidney, head of policy at the CIEH, said: "This survey confirms our worst fears – that many councils are finding it increasingly difficult to conduct investigations due to cutbacks in government housing expenditure. This is impairing the ability of EHOs to tackle abuses in the private rented sector.
“As we have said, it makes no economic sense to cut back investment in housing. The equation is a simple one: poor housing leads to poor health which needs to longer NHS queues, which end up putting a further squeeze on the nation’s resources.
“The Government’s obsession with cutting spending is putting some of the most vulnerable people at risk. We must have an informed, evidence-based discussion about housing in this country.”
The findings of the Institute’s research will be discussed at a housing conference on Thursday.
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