Hull City Council has come under pressure for unjustly taking an aggressive stance against landlords after a sharp rebuke from the government.
The council has been unfairly penalising landlords whose tenants report them for an alleged failing in their property, serving them with enforcement notices before they have had the opportunity to address a tenant’s complaint.
However, the housing minister Heather Wheeler has now called on Matt Jukes, chief executive of Hull City Council, to “work with these landlords” after being told how badly they were being treated by the local authority at a meeting with the National Landlords Association (NLA) and Humber Landlords Association.
Hull City Council has introduced the Hull Accredited Landlords Scheme, whose members are given an exemption from an immediate council inspection following a report from a tenant.
However, the NLA explained to Wheeler that there is confusion over the entry criteria for the scheme, which is free to join and only requires the landlord to attend a one-day training course on housing health and safety.
In a letter to Jukes, Wheeler said: “I was extremely concerned to hear reports that many landlords in Hull are not fully aware of, or have misunderstood, the standards they must meet to become a member of the scheme. It is crucial that you work to bring landlords with you and are communicating effectively to do so.”
Gavin Dick, local authority policy officer at the NLA, commented: “Hull City Council has been unfairly penalising landlords. While it should penalise landlords who don’t provide safe, habitable homes, it isn’t right that good landlords should be punished before having the chance to fix any problems they weren’t previously aware of. The vast majority of landlords want to rectify issues as soon as they arise. Councils must not tarnish all landlords with the same brush.
“It’s unfortunate that we had to take this matter to the minister, but we are encouraged that our collective voices have been heard and Hull City Council now needs to take immediate steps to ensure all landlords in Hull understand the Hull Accredited Landlords Scheme.”