New enforcement rules covering living conditions in private rented housing in Hull look set to be introduced after Humber Landlords Association lost a High Court battle to stop the regulations coming into play.
Humber Landlords Association insists that standards in the private rented housing in Hull have got better as buy-to-let landlords respond to a flurry of legislation aimed at improving living conditions for renters, but Hull Council believes that there is still room for improvement when it comes to improving living conditions.
Cllr John Black, Hull Council’s portfolio holder neighbourhoods and housing, said: “We see the misery caused on a daily basis by bad landlords. Inadequate housing conditions have a huge impact on the health of families and children living in this city.
“Whilst the vast majority of private landlords provide good quality properties that are safe, legal and decent we have a duty to protect residents from those that do not and welcome that the High Court has today ruled in our favour to enable us to do this.”
Humber Landlords Association, which was supported in the dispute by the Residential Landlords Association and the National Landlords Association, fears that the council’s policy to adopt a more stringent position on the issue could lead to landlords facing “unfair” additional charges in order to comply with formal enforcement notices requiring property owners to make improvements, as opposed to the council’s existing informal notice process.
Speaking ahead of the court case, Humber Landlords Association’s chairman, Danny Gough, said: “The reasons given by the council for this change, which ignores national guidance applicable to all types of enforcement action by councils, is to protect tenants from eviction in retaliation for them requesting repairs.
“The council produced no evidence to justify their claim that this is a problem in Hull. They do not even keep records of cases where this happens.”
He added: “Penalising responsible landlords is bad practice on the part of the council. Trying to generate a fee income hurts the tenants of responsible landlords.
“Inevitably the cost is passed on as part of the rent or money that will now have to go to the council, could be spent on improving properties in the city.”
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