New measures to clamp down on unscrupulous landlords who trap and cram vulnerable tenants in unsafe, overcrowded homes in Govanhill, Glasgow, have been unveiled.
Glasgow City Council has been given more powers to tackle rogue landlords head-on in an area where many tenants are exploited and charged extortionate rents to live in cramped and appalling living conditions.
Previously, four tenement blocks in Govanhill had been designated an Enhanced Enforcement Areas (EEA), with many inspected properties failing to meet required standards. But a further 14 tenement blocks in the local area are now designated an EEA.
The 14 tenement blocks are located in Albert Road, Allison Street, Annette Street, Bankhall Street, Belleisle Street, Bowman Street, Calder Street, Cathcart Road, Daisy Street, Dixon Avenue, Garturk Street, Langside Road, Victoria Road and Westmoreland Street.
Officials now have rights of entry to properties if there are complaints from residents about how they are managed by private landlords.
Scotland’s housing minister Kevin Stewart said that the council would have a better chance of addressing the problems in the EEAs thanks to the decision to extend the powers.
He said: “The success of Govanhill's first EEA is clear. During initial inspections, only 21 properties within the area met the Repairing Standard requirements. Now, through the council's ongoing engagement with landlords, 175 properties met the standard on their second inspection.
“The additional powers will ensure the council can intervene directly on housing problems faced by residents in the area.
“I am committed to improving conditions for tenants in the private rented sector and this further designation will help ensure that people are living in good-quality private rented homes and landlords take their responsibilities to the people they home seriously.”
Mhairi Hunter, co-chairwoman of Glasgow City Council's Govanhill Taskforce, warmly welcomed the decision to grant the council greater powers.
She said: “The first EEA has led to a wide range of improvements within the 'four blocks'. Action has been taken against failing landlords, properties have been brought up to standard, the number of property factors appointed has almost doubled and there has been a drop in anti-social behaviour.
“The extended EEA will give us the tools to tackle rogue landlords in a further 14 blocks and help us improve the rest of South West Govanhill.
“Govanhill is a diverse, vibrant community loved by many. The council is committed to the long-term regeneration of the area and extending the EEA.”