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Policing rogue landlords

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Oxford City Council is stepping up its hunt for rogue landlords in a bid to wheedle out those offering sub-standard, overcrowded or quite simply dangerous accommodation.

In a story dated the 2nd of September, Landlord Today revealed that the Council has gone as far as employing aerial searches and the use of thermal cameras to uncover landlords currently exploiting tenants by accommodating them in sheds. The conditions found by the Council are said to have been appalling.

The city and its environs have the highest density of privately rented homes anywhere in the country. The Council says it is unacceptable to find sub-standard or dangerous accommodation in any part of the private rented sector – whether that is a bed in a shed, an overcrowded HMO, or a shoddily maintained family home.

Investigations so far have discovered 21 sheds, 70 privately rented homes and a number of unlicensed Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). In addition to overcrowding, accommodation has been found with electrical hazards, fire safety problems, a lack of hot water or basic heating, and inadequate or unsanitary toilets.

Pending further investigations by the Council’s specialist inspectors, 31 enforcement notices have been issued. Enforcement notices may be used to require landlords to take urgent action to remedy inadequacies and address unhealthy or hazardous conditions in their let premises.

In April of 2018, we reported that a landlord in the Midlands town of Sutton Coldfield had been fined a record £182,314.90 for 35 offences relating to four HMOs she owned across the city of Birmingham.