Stoke-on-Trent’s housing team have delivered another clear message that low housing standards are not acceptable in the city.
Last week the landlord of a property on Pinnox Street was successfully prosecuted by the city council for failing to apply for a selective licence.
It’s all part of the council’s drive to encourage landlords raise the standard of the city’s rented housing for local people.
The selective licence programme was introduced by the city council in 2011 to cover areas where over 50% of homes are rented and housing is poor. It now covers 690 homes in the Bond Street and 211 homes in the Pinnock Street areas.
It means the council has the power to regulate housing quality to protect local people, raising standards and reducing the social instability and problems associated with low quality rented housing.
Initially set for a trial in court the landlord changed his plea to guilty. He was fined £700 and must pay costs of £774.64. He was also asked to pay a “victim surcharge” of £15 to the tenant.
Tenants of successfully prosecuted landlords can submit a Rent Repayment Order application to a Residential Property Tribunal to have up to 12 months rent repaid back to them, which is even more of an incentive for landlords to join the scheme.
The landlord has since applied and paid for his selective licence and is now part of the licensing process.
There have now been three successful prosecutions against landlords for this offence, and a further two more are awaiting court dates. Another 12 landlords are in prosecution proceedings.
Janine Bridges, cabinet member for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, said the message was loud and clear.
“Where landlords neglect their properties it creates instability and a lack of community. Good quality homes are the building blocks of a great communities and a prosperous future.
“For those who come on board there are real opportunities. We are working with British Gas to invest £6million in improving energy efficiency in over 900 privately owned homes in the city. Together we can make a massive difference,” she said.