Working to improve standards in private rented housing in the city

Our private sector housing team has been working with landlords to bring about repairs and improvements in hundreds of homes across the city.

Between April and December last year, the team stepped in to request improvements to 462 privately rented homes.

Following council intervention, the vast majority of these homes were improved by landlords without the need for enforcement action.

Of the 462 cases, 13 required Statutory Notices or Civil Notices to be served in order to bring about the necessary improvements.

The figures were included in a Private Sector Housing Update report to a meeting of the Housing Committee on 18 January.

Around a third of homes in Brighton & Hove are privately rented - that’s around 45,000 properties.

Reviewing our enforcement policy

We’ve recently invested an extra £200,000 into extra private sector housing enforcement staff to improve standards and take action where landlords don’t undertake the improvements they are required to make.

At the meeting, councillors agreed to review our current Private Sector Enforcement Policy to ensure it meets the needs of residents and see if there are further measures which can be taken.

The review of the policy will, among other things, look at measures to reduce the risk of ‘revenge evictions’ by serving improvement notices and emergency remedial action notices at the earliest opportunity.

In a few cases, there is evidence of landlords serving notice on tenants after being asked to make improvements to the property – a so-called ‘revenge eviction’.

Where there’s a history of landlords carrying out revenge evictions following repairs reports, we will serve a pre-emptive improvement notice to protect the tenant.

We encourage any tenants to inform us as soon as possible if their private rented home needs improving, and we can discuss the steps that can be taken prior to us contacting the landlord.

If the necessary improvements aren’t made, we will then explore taking enforcement action.

Action to improve standards

Councillor David Gibson, Co-chair of the Housing Committee, said: “We have a lot of decent landlords in the city who provide much needed homes, but we also know there are properties where standards fall short and which need repairs and improvements.

“Our priority is to raise standards in more privately rented homes in the city and make sure that tenants in the sector can live in safe, healthy and well-managed homes.

“We will always want to work with landlords to bring about improvements in the first instance

“In most cases, once our private sector housing team intervenes, landlords undertake to carry out the necessary work and we ensure they do so. If they fail to comply with what’s needed, we will then take enforcement action.

“We have already issued 550% more fines this year so far compared to the previous year.

“The review of our Private Sector Enforcement Policy will enable us to look at how we can further improve our work to help tenants.”

More information

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