The Home Office is hoping to drive up standards in the private rented sector in Bristol by handing £321,750 to Bristol City Council to help target rogue landlords and better protect tenants across the city.
The funding, which comes from the Controlling Migration Fund, is designed to boost conditions in the sector over the next two years by enabling the council to conduct intelligence work to identify and target criminal landlords in the city, and take enforcement action where necessary.
The council plan to make around 1,200 property inspections over the next two years but is urging tenants to come forward if they have concerns about the condition of their private rented properties, which they have not been able to resolve with their landlord.
The council’s private housing team will work with partners, including Avon and Somerset Police and Immigration Compliance Enforcement (ICE), to identify properties where there are likely to be high levels of exploitation and trafficking.
In 2016 the council was awarded money from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to carry out similar work targeting criminal landlords. During this time the private housing team inspected 153 individual properties, served 20 enforcement notices and carried out four prosecutions.
Paul Smith, cabinet member for homes, 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.”