Tenants’ union demands action over “dodgy landlords”

A union for tenants has called for a citywide scheme to crackdown on ‘dodgy landlords’.

By Lucy Ashton
Thursday, 04 April, 2019, 11:27
Campaigners from ACORN Sheffield handed in a petition to Sheffield Council

ACORN Sheffield is campaigning for the expansion of a landlord licensing scheme, which so far only covers the Abbeydale and Page Hall areas of the city.

Campaigners handed in a petition with more than 1,000 signatures to demand action at a full council meeting.

ACORN member James Rogers said: “Sheffield Council faces a choice – protect tenants, or leave us to fend for ourselves.

“For the past few months, we’ve been building support for better regulation of the private rented sector. It’s clear that people have had enough of dodgy landlords.”

The council introduced landlord licensing around Page Hall and Abbeydale Road where conditions were considered to be particularly poor.

James added: “The council has the power to protect the lives of tens of thousands of tenants across Sheffield. The private rented sector is changing.

“No longer is it the option just for students and temporary workers, it is increasingly becoming the long-term option for families. Better regulation is needed to reflect that.

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“Just as you wouldn’t get into an unlicensed taxi, you shouldn’t live in an unlicensed rented home. Landlords have a duty of care and the state needs to uphold that right.”

Coun Jim Steinke, cabinet member for housing, welcomed the petition and said the council would respond as positively as it could.

“In London Road, Abbeydale Road and Chesterfield Road we have made a great start. Most landlords have signed up and those that didn’t have been pursued.

“We are hoping for co-operation from most landlords on improving their properties to a basic standard, but we will prosecute those that won’t.

“We are coming to the end of the scheme in Page Hall and can see some real improvements in the physical condition of private rented properties there, but obviously need to make further environmental improvements.

“We now need to look at ways in which we can focus on pockets of bad private rented properties across Sheffield, and we are lobbying the Government to give local authorities more flexibility in partnership with other councils.”